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ISS NANOROCKS

COLLISIONAL EVOLUTION OF REGOLITH SIMULANTS IN MICROGRAVITY


B. HOOVER, K. LAI, A. DOVE, J. COLWELL, N. BROWN, H. NAGLER
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS

INTRODUCTION

METHODS AND RESULTS

ISS NanoRocks is an experiment that will travel to the International


Space Station in 2014 on Space-X4 to observe low-energy
collisions of multiple regolith simulants. These collisions will be
similar to those found in the protoplanetary disk and Saturns rings
and will help us understand the conditions and processes that led
to the formation of the Solar System we know today.

As with any space mission, volume and mass constraints are very
important. The entire experiment will fit within a cube of
10x10x15cm and will have a mass of no more than 1.5kg. Included
in this cube will be a small evacuated regolith tray resting on
springs. An electromagnet beneath the tray will trigger a gentle
oscillatory motion that will encourage particle collisions. These
collisions will be observed with a miniature camera and will be
periodically sent back for analysis. The experiment can be reset
easily and will require very little astronaut tending. Multiple regolith
simulants will be used in different combinations within the
experiment chambers.

DROP TOWER TESTING

EXPERIMENT DESIGN
Payload specifications:
Volume: 10 x 10 x 15 cm
Mass: 1.5 kilograms

DISCUSSION
This experiment aims to collect data in the form of video and
imaging. With this data, observations can be made about the
conditions that lead to the formation of aggregates. A collision
from a similar experiment can be seen in Figure 2 below. This
series of images was taken from a drop tower test which provides
only ~0.75 seconds of free fall. The extended duration of
microgravity provided by the International Space Station will allow
us to observe collisions like these over much longer periods of
time. The payload is expected to be in experiment mode for 30
days on the International Space Station.
Figure 1. Video data of various drop tower experiments with a
variety of simulants These low velocity collisions shown above are
an example of the collisions that are expected to be observed in
the ISS experiment. A 12 feet in-house drop tower at the Center for
Microgravity Research allows experiments to be tested in a
microgravity environment lasting ~0.75 seconds.

Figure 3. Solidworks CAD of the


NanoRocks payload, with the
simulant tray, LEDs, camera,
springs, and electromagnet.

Figure 4. Actual photo of the


NanoRocks experiment with the
simulants in the tray, LEDs on
and the HackHD mounted.

Figure 5. The simulant tray


consists of 8 various chambers
that will house a variety of
simulants. These simulants will
be a mixture or stand alone of
JSC-1 lunar simulant, glass blue
beads, gold-plated red beads,
and chalk.

Figure 2. Example collision similar to those expected from the ISS


experiment. This collision shown is between 250-500 um JSC-1.

University of Central Florida