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Simulating regoliths in microgravity

Murdoch, Naomi and Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F. and Michel, Patrick and De Lophem, T.-L. and Losert, W. Simulating regoliths in microgravity. (2013) Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433 (1). 506-514. ISSN 0035-8711

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt742


Despite their very low surface gravities, the surfaces of asteroids and comets are covered by granular materials – regolith – that can range from a fine dust to a gravel-like structure of varying depths. Understanding the dynamics of granular materials is, therefore, vital for the interpretation of the surface geology of these small bodies and is also critical for the design and/or operations of any device planned to interact with their surfaces. We present the first measurements of transient weakening of granular material after shear reversal in microgravity as well as a summary of experimental results recently published in other journals, which may have important implications for small-body surfaces. Our results suggest that the force contact network within a granular material may be weaker in microgravity, although the influence of any change in the contact network is felt by the granular material over much larger distances. This could mean that small-body surfaces are even more unstable than previously imagined. However, our results also indicate that the consequences of, e.g., a meteorite impact or a spacecraft landing, may be very different depending on the impact angle and location, and depending on the prior history of the small-body surface.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (FRANCE)
Other partners > Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (FRANCE)
Other partners > University of Maryland (USA)
Other partners > The Open University (United Kingdom)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 16:34

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