The Dysnomia is a top of the line mining ship built by the Helix corporation. Dysnomia mines asteroids and comets by finding and capturing them and then storing them inside her massive cargo hold.

Why would you want to mine this way? In my mind it might make it easier to cut down and process inside the hull enroute too a space station as well as saving time.

Note: by this way I mean storing and processing the asteroid inside the ship (then transporting the raw ore to a refinery on or near luna)


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  • $\begingroup$ Same reason a whaler ship brings whales in whole rather than cutting them in the sea. You don't want to miss any bits. $\endgroup$ – Renan Nov 25 '18 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Renan - I don't think that's factual. Flensing is done on-board to my knowledge and presumably the intestines are fed to the seagulls and sharks. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 25 '18 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Celestial Dragon Emperor - Your question is potentially confusing. You say, "Why would you want to mine this way?" but its' not 100% clear whether '"this way" means processing in transit or just storing. Please can you make it more explicit? $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 25 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Gotta agree with @Chasly. At the moment both his answer and mine answer diametrically opposed questions, both of which could be your question.... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Nov 25 '18 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Chasly I edited in the "this way" bit. Sorry about the confusion $\endgroup$ – Celestial Dragon Emperor Nov 25 '18 at 14:46

To avoid gas ejections due to the rotation of the asteroid in front of the star.

Quote from this source:

Asteroids typically don’t have tails, even those near the Sun. But recently, astronomers have seen some asteroids that have sprouted tails, such as asteroid P/2010 A2. This seems to happen when the asteroid has been hit or pummeled by other asteroids and dust or gas is ejected from their surfaces, creating a sporadic tail effect.

Mining asteroids in space could expose miners to a danger that would not occur in a confined space, such as inside a cargo ship. The outer layer of an asteroid may have "dried" for millions of years, but inside, chunks of solid rock may still have residues of ice or gaz that have been dormant from the formation of the asteroid. Exposing them to the sudden light of the nearest sun could ignite gas ejections, endangering mining ships and miners, and propel the asteroid in a dangerous rotating course.

Inside a ship, the amount of light/energy can be controlled and miners would be safe even if large chunks contain other things than just solid rock.


If you have enough stored atmosphere then you gain the advantage of being able to pressurise the space you’re mining in. You also gain the ability to run gantries and mining machinery from all sides, have a known good power supply already established, and if you’re careful you can even put the ship under thrust and gain whatever advantages gravity can give you.

Only real issue with it is the sheer size of the hold you need.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you may have answered the question backwards. I admit the question could be worded better. The OP says why don't you mine in the way you are suggesting. (At least I think so) $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 25 '18 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Chasly: the OP clarified: this is answering the right question. :-) $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Nov 25 '18 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ If you read the whole question very carefully and try to square it with the title it still doesn't make any sense - AT ALL. I'm leaving my answer in the hope that it will help somewhat. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 25 '18 at 15:32

They are mining Star-Trek Dilithium.


Dilithium is an extremely hard crystalline mineral. There is no purifying to be done - just cutting up into usable-sized chunks. There is no reason to do this on the Dysnomia - the heavy industrial tools needed would just be dead-weight. Worse, the machinery would take up most of the Dysnomia's hold. It makes much more sense to take the already pure raw material to a purpose built processing plant where it can be shaped, distributed and sold.

Even if the dilithium is embedded in the asteroid, standard mining procedure requires blasting. Setting off large explosions in the hold of a ship is risky to say the least. Setting off explosions whilst still in orbit endangers the Dysnomia and any other shipping in the area.

  • $\begingroup$ You'd have to assume that most, or all, of the asteriod is dilithium. Otherwise the waste products from the asteroids would be far more deadweight to carry than the processing equipment. And I'm skeptical that enough pure dilithium asteroids would be floating around out there to create a whole class of ships just to collect them. $\endgroup$ – Spencer Nov 25 '18 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ The OP does not say that Dysnomia is part of a fleet. There may specialist top-of-the-line ships that are made in very limited numbers. It's quite likely that the pure dilithium occurs in large deposits embedded in the hard surface of the asteroid. Blasting on site (and especially inside the ship) would just scatter the asteroid everywhere and shatter the dilithium crystals causing danger to shipping including the Dysnomia itself. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Nov 25 '18 at 14:22

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