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Investigation of the properties of icy lunar polar regolith simulants

Pitcher, Craig, Kömle, N, Leibniz, O, Morales-Calderon, O, Gao, Yang and Richter, L (2016) Investigation of the properties of icy lunar polar regolith simulants Advances in Space Research, 57 (5). pp. 1197-1208.

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As icy regolith is believed to exist in the subsurface of permanently shadowed areas near the lunar south pole, there is a growing interest in obtaining samples from these polar regions. To qualify for spaceflight, sampling instruments must demonstrate their ability to operate in the expected environment. However, there is currently no quantitative data detailing the extent and distribution of ice in polar regolith. While work has been done to determine the effects of water ice content in simulants such as JSC-1A, to date there has been no investigation into the properties of icy simulants of the regolith believed to be found at lunar polar regions. A series of experiments has therefore been conducted to determine the properties of icy NU-LHT-2M lunar highland simulant, an approximation of lunar polar regolith, at varying degrees of saturation. A number of procedures for preparing the simulant were tested, with the aim of defining a standardised technique for the creation of icy simulants with controlled water contents. Saturation of the highland simulant was found to occur at a water mass content between 13% and 17%, while cone penetration tests demonstrated that a significant increase in penetration resistance occurs at 5 ± 1%. Uniaxial compression tests showed an increase in regolith strength with water mass and density, which slows down as the saturation level is reached. The results presented here demonstrate the first characterisation of the properties of icy lunar polar regolith simulants, which can be expanded upon to further the understanding of its properties for use in future instrumentation testing.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Electronic Engineering
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering > Surrey Space Centre
Authors :
Kömle, N
Leibniz, O
Morales-Calderon, O
Richter, L
Date : 1 March 2016
DOI : 10.1016/j.asr.2015.12.030
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Uncontrolled Keywords : Lunar simulants, Icy regolith, Polar simulant, Preparation methods, Saturation
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 Jan 2017 11:35
Last Modified : 06 Sep 2019 08:48

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