EPJ Web Conf.
Volume 249, 2021Powders & Grains 2021 – 9th International Conference on Micromechanics on Granular Media
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||07 June 2021|
Probing regolith-covered surfaces in low gravity
Dept. of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695, USA
2 Fakultät für Physik, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 47057 Duisburg, Germany
3 Department of Physics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 7 June 2021
The surfaces of many planetary bodies, including asteroids, moons, and planets, are composed of rubble-like grains held together by varying levels of gravitational attraction and cohesive forces. Future instrumentation for operation on, and interacting with, such surfaces will require efficient and effective design principles and methods of testing. Here we present results from the EMPANADA experiment (Ejecta-Minimizing Protocols for Applications Needing Anchoring or Digging on Asteroids) which flew on several reduced gravity parabolic flights. EMPANADA studies the effects of the insertion of a flexible probe into a granular medium as a function of ambient gravity. This is done for an idealized 2D system as well as a more realistic 3D sample. To quantify the dynamics inside the 2D granular material we employ photoelasticity to identify the grain-scale forces throughout the system, while in 3D experiments we use simulated regolith. Experiments were conducted at three different levels of gravity: martian, lunar, and microgravity. In this work, we demonstrate that the photoelastic technique provides results that complement traditional load cell measurements in the 2D sample, and show that the idealized system exhibits similar behaviour to the more realistic 3D sample. We note that the presence of discrete, stick-slip failure events depends on the gravitational acceleration.
A video is available at https://doi.org/10.48448/946w-ez57
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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