Ceres Regolith Simulant Material Property Testing


The dwarf planetoid Ceres is the interest of space agencies like NASA for the unique geomorphology available. Questions concerning the early formation of planets in our solar system as well as the potential migration of Ceres from the outer solar system could be better understood from the exploration of this planetoid. Currently there are no available samples of Ceres surface to perform testing upon. Therefore, spacecraft hardware and proposed mission applications require the use of regolith simulants as an analog. This experiment outlines the procedures to test Ceres-like simulants for compressive, impact, and tensile strength. Using guidance from other simulant studies, two primary procedures are used in sample creation. The first sample intends to account for the dry sublimated surface of Ceres while the second sample is intended to mimic the frozen clay-like subsurface found immediately under the dry crust. We report the physical properties of these two sample types and compare their differences. The intent of this experiment is to provide base properties that may be used as guidelines for the creation of spacecraft intended to travel to Ceres.

Ceres, Regolith, Materials, Simulant, Materials Testing, Space