Assessment of geotechnical properties of lunar soil simulant’s for lunar missions

Prabu, Thannasi ; Venugopal, Indaram ; Muthukkumaran, Kasinathan

Abstract

Prototype-based experimental studies at the simulated environmental conditions are essential for the planned Chandrayaan missions of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). A large quantity of lunar simulants was needed to prepare the lunar surface testbed, which cost more expensive to import. Therefore, the ISRO has intended to develop an indigenous new lunar simulant. All the available lunar soil simulants have been developed to mimic the actual lunar soil properties. Likewise, the new lunar soil simulant should mimic the properties of actual lunar soil. Hence, it is essential to examine the fidelity and properties of the existing lunar simulants with the actual lunar soil. This paper reviews the chemical composition, mineralogy, geotechnical and geomechanical properties of the past developed lunar simulants (mare and highland simulants) with actual lunar soils. Also, the review has provided an increased understanding of previous research on lunar soil development methods and materials used. Both mare and highland simulants discussed have variations with actual lunar soil; because the lunar simulants have been tested in the terrestrial environment, which can have significant effects on results. The variations between terrestrial simulants and lunar regolith and the related engineering implications are discussed.

 


Keyword(s)

Chandrayaan mission, Bulk density, Shear strength, Trafficability, Bearing capacity


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