SPORE Apollo 11 Regolith and Mega-Regolith Characterization

Version 1.0    January 7, 2020

Apollo11 Site Regolith Characterization

The first step in the SPORE project is to gather as much relevant data as possible on the Lunar regolith and mega-regolith at the Apollo 11 site. We’ll need this information so we can figure out how to excavate the material, build the shield wall, and minimize atmosphere loss inside the shield wall. We’ll also need to figure out an acceptable simulant so we can run experiments.

The primary reasons this page exists is so I have the data necessary run oxygen leakage, excavation, and resource processing experiments for the SPORE project.

Check out the Lunar Homestead Experimental Location page for why I chose the Apollo 12 site for Lunar Homestead projects. That page is now obsolete but it explains why Apollo 12 is first. Of course, I needed to create pages for the other sites as well. Also, Lunarpedia will host all the information I collect here as well as any regolith information that isn’t relevant to the SPORE project. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

Disclaimer – I’m not a civil engineer and I don’t pretend to be one. So I’m going to have to learn as I go. I’m not sure how much that will help anyway as building on Luna is different than building on Earth. Plus, we don’t know much about the regolith and mega-regolith. Finally, the regolith and mega-regolith are highly heterogeneous so we might be stuck with generalities until we get much more data. Please let me know if you see something I’ve gotten wrong.

In reality, very few of our Homesteaders are going to be trained civil engineers either. We need to keep this simple and adaptable. Homesteaders will need to be able to quickly modify equipment and techniques to handle their local conditions. It will be very easy to get bogged down in engineering minutiae.

I’ve read a bunch of papers on excavating Lunar regolith. I haven’t found much that is helpful to SPORE. Some are heavy on theory and general estimates. Others utilize models based on variables used on Earth. Most are focused on robotic mining equipment. Maybe most of our knowledge about excavating Lunar regolith is of little value to the SPORE project since it’s reason for being is to eliminate or change most of the parameters anyway.

Apollo 11 regolith parameters at a glance

  • Geomechanical (mechanical strength properties)
    • Compressive strength
    • Coefficient of friction
    • Shear strength
    • Hardness
    • Rheology
    • Angle of repose
    • Tensile strength
    • Fracture behavior
    • Impact resistance
  • Physical
    • Particle density
    • Bulk density
    • Relative density
    • Porosity
    • Thermal properties
    • Surface area
    • Friability
    • Permeability
  • Grain Specific
    • Grain size
    • Grain size distribution
    • Grain shape
    • Magnetic grain properties
    • Grain shape distribution
    • Electrostatic charging
  • Chemical
    • Glass composition
    • Bulk chemistry
    • Reactivity as volatile/soluble minerals
    • Surface reactivity (including damage)
  • Mineralogical
    • Mineralogical composition as function of grain size
    • Modal mineralogical composition
    • Soil texture
  • Multicategory
    • Implanted solar particles
    • Agglutinates with nanophase Fe

Apollo 11 mega-regolith parameters at a glance

There are no Apollo 1 1mega-regolith samples. See the Lunar mega-regolith page for more information.

Apollo 11 regolith parameters

At this point I don’t know which parameters are critical and which are useless. So I’ll just collect everything and figure it all out later.

  • Relative density (takes particle packing into account)
  • Particle size distribution
  • Particle shapes
  • Specific gravity (ratio of the particle mass to the mass of an equal volume of water at 4º C)
  • Bulk density (the mass of material contained within a given volume)
  • Porosity (the volume of void space between the particles divided by the total volume)
  • Compressibility (the volume change when a confining stress is applied to soil)
  • Shear strength
  • Permeability (the quantity of flow of a fluid through a porous  medium in response to a pressure gradient)
  • Diffusivity (defines the molecular flow of a gas through a porous medium in response to a concentration gradient)
  • Bearing capacity (the ability of a soil to support an applied load)
  • Slope stability (the ability of the soil to stand without support)
  • Trafficability (the capacity of a soil to support a vehicle and provide sufficient traction)
  • Soil cohesion
  • Soil friction
  • Tool-soil adhesion
  • Soil weight (lifting/blanket)

Apollo 11 mega-regolith parameters

There are no Apollo 11 mega-regolith samples. See the Lunar mega-regolith page for more information.

Resources

 

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