group

Authors' Class Standing

Jashan Grewal: Graduated Endi Leonardo: Graduated Daniel Zevallos: Senior Jarrod Brandt: Graduated Christopher Brown: Graduated Kate Williams: Senior Nishihandha Kelkar: Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Kathryn Williams

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Sathya Gangadharan

Abstract

This project was part of the 2015 NASA Microg-g NExT Challenge and involved the creation of three different types of asteroid simulants: carbon, metal, and silicate dominant asteroids. The purpose of creating these asteroids simulants was to realistically test asteroid mining tools.

For the experimental testing stage, three types of asteroids of varying age characteristics were placed within a structural frame comprised of three bays. These sample asteroids were composed mainly of silicates such as feldspar and quartz. Using these asteroid regenerations, NASA fully tested their asteroid mining tools in a myriad of environments; thus, determining whether the tools would operate optimally and beneficially on a realistic reduced gravitational setting.

Asteroids may comprise an abundance of raw materials that could be advantageous to Earth projects and space exploration. Asteroid materials found in silicate and carbon dominate asteroids can be used for propellant of future space vehicles. M-type asteroids have valuable minerals such as platinum and rhodium. By providing NASA with a realistic asteroid simulant, the team was able to test the mining tools in realistic circumstances and provide a more formative test for NASA.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes

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Asteroid Regolith Simulant Design and Development

This project was part of the 2015 NASA Microg-g NExT Challenge and involved the creation of three different types of asteroid simulants: carbon, metal, and silicate dominant asteroids. The purpose of creating these asteroids simulants was to realistically test asteroid mining tools.

For the experimental testing stage, three types of asteroids of varying age characteristics were placed within a structural frame comprised of three bays. These sample asteroids were composed mainly of silicates such as feldspar and quartz. Using these asteroid regenerations, NASA fully tested their asteroid mining tools in a myriad of environments; thus, determining whether the tools would operate optimally and beneficially on a realistic reduced gravitational setting.

Asteroids may comprise an abundance of raw materials that could be advantageous to Earth projects and space exploration. Asteroid materials found in silicate and carbon dominate asteroids can be used for propellant of future space vehicles. M-type asteroids have valuable minerals such as platinum and rhodium. By providing NASA with a realistic asteroid simulant, the team was able to test the mining tools in realistic circumstances and provide a more formative test for NASA.

 

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