Abstract Title

Asteroid Simulant Design and Developement

group

Authors' Class Standing

Jarrod Brandt, Senior Jashan Grewal, Senior Endi Leonardo, Senior Daniel Zevallos, Senior Chris Brown, Senior Kate Williams, Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Jashan Grewal

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Sathya Gangadharan, Dr. Birce Dikici

Abstract

As spacefaring technologies evolve, the targets for future exploration and industry have grown to include asteroids more frequently. To ensure the success of asteroid mining missions, more accurate data on machine performance and sampling must be gathered. In pursuit of this goal, a method for manufacturing testable asteroid simulant is proposed.

Three primary asteroid compositions: M, S, and C types will be simulated due to their scientific and economic value. Heating and cooling cycles will be approximated using a thermal radiation source and convection cooling to prevent the addition of unwanted elements to the simulant. Pressure will be applied to the simulant during heating to simulate the effects of an asteroids gravity on the migration of surface materials over time. Between thermal cycles, small amounts of additional material will be added to simulate the growth of an asteroid from micro collisions and debris accumulation. While asteroid thermal cycles vary, the thermal cycles examined by this procedure will be constrained to the average temperatures and cycle times experienced by asteroids of each type. The simulant will be stabilized in three conjoined testing bays constructed to be as near neutrally buoyant as possible while withstanding any forces or pressures exerted upon it in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL). Precautions including vibration damping springs and the exclusion of brittle or sharp materials will ensure researcher safety during testing. These procedures will result in a safe, accurate, and testable asteroid simulant for use by researchers in NASA’s NBL.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Asteroid Simulant Design and Developement

As spacefaring technologies evolve, the targets for future exploration and industry have grown to include asteroids more frequently. To ensure the success of asteroid mining missions, more accurate data on machine performance and sampling must be gathered. In pursuit of this goal, a method for manufacturing testable asteroid simulant is proposed.

Three primary asteroid compositions: M, S, and C types will be simulated due to their scientific and economic value. Heating and cooling cycles will be approximated using a thermal radiation source and convection cooling to prevent the addition of unwanted elements to the simulant. Pressure will be applied to the simulant during heating to simulate the effects of an asteroids gravity on the migration of surface materials over time. Between thermal cycles, small amounts of additional material will be added to simulate the growth of an asteroid from micro collisions and debris accumulation. While asteroid thermal cycles vary, the thermal cycles examined by this procedure will be constrained to the average temperatures and cycle times experienced by asteroids of each type. The simulant will be stabilized in three conjoined testing bays constructed to be as near neutrally buoyant as possible while withstanding any forces or pressures exerted upon it in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL). Precautions including vibration damping springs and the exclusion of brittle or sharp materials will ensure researcher safety during testing. These procedures will result in a safe, accurate, and testable asteroid simulant for use by researchers in NASA’s NBL.