At the end of the 21st century, the first expedition to Uranus launches to mine helium-3 and deuterium from its atmosphere. The plan involves a tether dangled into the upper atmosphere of Uranus, with some atmospheric scooping and compression equipment at the "foot" to lift "popsicles" of fusion fuel. At the top, the tether is supported by attaching to the closest moon of Uranus, Cordelia.
How could Cordelia station be designed, in order to work safely and have the most efficiency (in terms of materials extracted compared to the costs of constructing/maintaining the station)?
- Processing equipment to separate deuterium/helium 3 (if needed) - how does this function in terms of chemistry?
- Uranus tether support - where is this attached? Is Cordelia even the optimal moon or could the tether support itself?
- Some way of getting the fusion fuel to the inner solar system (or at least closer) - what is the cheapest way?
- Must be entirely robotically supported and maintained (but NOT necessarily constructed)