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Experimental Facility to Measure Power and Forces to Excavate Lunar Regolith SimulantsAn Excavation Lab has been built at the NASA Glenn Research Center in support of the NASA In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) program objectives to measure the power and forces needed to excavate granular lunar regolith. The data obtained will be used to validate excavation models used in system studies and for developing light weight, energy efficient digging devices for activities on the moon and mars. The Excavation Lab houses the Advanced Planetary Excavator (APEX), an electrically actuated backhoe arm with a bucket, which is used to dig GRC-3B, a simulant of granular lunar regolith comprised of silica sand and silt. A load cell is mounted between the arm and the bucket to measure digging forces. Dig trajectories files are created and used to control the APEX for repeatability. Comparison of preliminary data recorded for the same trajectory in air and in GRC-3B shows measurable difference in power and load cell measurements. Load cell forces for a linear dig in GRC-3B are presented.
Document ID
Document Type
Proctor, Margaret P.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
July 12, 2019
Publication Date
June 11, 2019
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Joint Meeting of the Space Resources Roundtable (SRR) & The Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium (PTMSS)
Location: Golden, CO
Country: United States
Start Date: June 11, 2019
End Date: June 14, 2019
Sponsors: Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 460421.04.23.22
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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