Art Diary #11 - 42 Isis Mining Complex

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42 Isis Mining Complex

Established in 2398 after a series of contentious legal battles over its ownership was resolved in favor of the mining conglomerate MALKEM Szöv Cooperative, the subsidiary Isis Anonymous Partnership was formed under an Independent Republic of Ceres registry to exploit the mineral resources of the asteroid 42 Isis.

Originally roughly 103 km diameter, 42 Isis is a main-belt asteroid rich in olivine (magnesium iron silicate) useful in various industrial processes including C02 sequestration and aluminum molds.

Mining operations consist of semi-autonomous mining drones that drill laterally through the outer crust of the interior, though the complex also utilizes external flight-capable mining and construction drones for necessary tasks including conjoining additional asteroid bodies, retrieving disassociated chunks of asteroid material, particle netting for dust capture, and, finally, necessary repair functions.

Because most operations are automated, the complex maintains a relatively small crew ranging from 75 to 125 personnel under typical conditions in various technician, drone piloting, and administrative capacities. The habitat capacity includes simultaneous berths and personnel support for up to four freighters and a dozen frigates.

Over the subsequent 73 years since its establishment, the main body of the asteroid has been substantially mined out leaving only a fraction of the original asteroid’s body still intact. First in 2422, and then later in 2450 additional main-belt bodies were towed into place to take advantage of the complex’s pre-existing mining infrastructure.

The 42 Isis Mining Complex is an example of several modern features of mining processes, including:

  • A permanent rotating habitat ring for off-work hours and general administration.
  • A large circular docking port built into the main body of the asteroid with extensive capacity for mining drones, frigates, and ore freighters.
  • Solar panel arrays and heat sinks extending from the center of the habitat ring.

Though some complexes of this type also include refining capabilities, the 42 Isis Mining Complex does not, being a prime example of a dedicated mining platform. Unprocessed material is loaded into freighters from the main docking port and then shipped to refineries elsewhere in the Belt, the final processed materials subsequently shipped throughout the Belt and beyond, most often to Earth, Mars, or the Galilean polities around Jupiter.