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Harvesting 3He from the Atmosphere of Jupiter

Harvesting 3He from the Atmosphere of Jupiter

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Question:


Since the atmosphere of Jupiter has the same basic composition as the solar wind, it has been suggested that 3He could be harvested from the atmosphere of Jupiter by “floating” processing facilities (sort of like the Cloud City gas mining operation on the planet Bespin in the second Star Wars movie). For this question, assume that you could refuel your cargo rocket from the Jovian atmosphere and launch it from the top of the atmosphere where the escape velocity is 60 km/sec. The scenario would be to launch to a low circular orbit about Jupiter then use efficient low thrust propulsion to transfer the 3He cargo to market.

A) What would be the mass ratio (initial mass / final mass or [vehicle + cargo + fuel] / [vehicle + cargo]) of your vehicle to a low orbit about Jupiter assuming the ISP = 1000 sec (NERVA-type nuclear rocket).

B) What would the mass ratio be if you had access to a high thrust engine with an ISP = 3000 seconds?
C) Based on these results, how viable is this scenario?

 

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