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Characterizing a subsonic jet -regolith interaction at room temperature.

Presentation #220.15 in the session Laboratory Investigations (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Characterizing a subsonic jet -regolith interaction at room temperature.

Introduction: The jet-regolith interaction has been a topic of interest for a long time. During Apollo landings it was observed that the engine exhaust eroded the regolith at very high velocity. This ejecta can travel very far, sometime even escape the moon, change the physical and chemical properties of the area, and severely damage the other preexisting instruments within reach. With Artemis mission, we are very close in going back to the Moon. It is crucial to understand and devise for those effects before landing a spacecraft. Results from a split jet cratering experiment will be presented.

Instrument and Experiment: This is an enclosed experiment. The instrument is installed in a clear tent and a filtration system provides the negative pressure during testing. We use the split jet technique to perform the experiments. A pressurized tank feeds to a 2 m long 1cm ID collimation pipe. The jet then splits in half by a transparent bevel wall of the regolith bin before interacting with the regolith. It then creates a half creater obsevable from outside. The regolith bin size is 25 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm. We used Exolith Lab simulants LMS1, LHS1, LHS1-Dust. We performed tests with air at inline pressure range of 40 PSI to 80 PSI with mass flow rates of 129 SLPM to 239 SLPM respectively at different densities of regolith. The variable densities were achieved by vibration and measured by a gamma ray detector. Data were recorded as a video file and processed on a automated Python program to extract the crater profile. Secondary data were also recorded as before and after 3D scan of the regolith bin.

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