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Back to Mars: Phoebus Mining

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After initial steps to colonize the Mars were made, the astronauts started investigating to extend their exploration and to start a mission to one of the two moons. The decision took a while, but at the end a choice was done: Phoebus!

The target of the mission was to explore the surface of Phoebus in order to increase the amount of collected resources while mining. At the beginning a prototype of an autonomous mining vehicle (AMV) was designed which is capable to operate in a swarm and has got a programmable pre-selection mechanism to reduce the volume of unwanted  materials which get collected. The AVM needs to be able to handle hard and dusty resources at the same time, so a bi-directional operation is possible. One end of the vehicle is equipped with a stone crushing shaft, the other one with a brush roller. The preselected resources are stored inside the AVM till it's completely filled up.

To be able to take the AVM to Phoebus a matching freighter is needed. Because on Phoebus no stationary landing platform is available, a vertical take-off spacecraft - powerfull enough to pick up the vehicle or the collected materials - is created. A pair of huge rocket engines are developed, each including a set of quad-nozzles.

The rear of the spacecraft has got two doors which enclose the cargo bay. Additionally the roof can be folded up in a way that the AVM can easily be unloaded. In the early phase of the mining mission the AVM is getting transported via a pick up and return method. The more AVM are used, they method might be changed to a cargo box transportation: The boxes are filled up on Phoebus and then are returned to Mars.

Some high resolution pictures are available here.