Simulating and evaluating regolith propagation effects during drilling in low gravity environments Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 Techno-Press, Ltd. This research is comprised of virtually simulating behavior while experiencing low gravity effects in advance of real world testing in low gravity aboard Zero Gravity Corporation’s (Zero-G) research aircraft (727-200F). The experiment simulated a drill rig penetrating a regolith simulant. Regolith is a layer of loose, heterogeneous superficial deposits covering solid rock on surfaces of the Earth’ moon, asteroids and Mars. The behavior and propagation of space debris when drilled in low gravity was tested through simulations and visualization in a leading dynamic simulation software as well as discrete element modeling software and in preparation for comparing to real world results from flying the experiment aboard Zero-G. The study of outer space regolith could lead to deeper scientific knowledge of extra-terrestrial surfaces, which could lead us to breakthroughs with respect to space mining or in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). These studies aimed to test and evaluate the drilling process in low to zero gravity environments and to determine static stress analysis on the drill when tested in low gravity environments. These tests and simulations were conducted by a team from Texas A&M University’s Department of Construction Science, the United States Air Force Academy’s Department of Astronautical Engineering, and Crow Industries © 2019 Techno-Press, Ltd.

published proceedings

  • Advances in Computational Design

author list (cited authors)

  • Suermann, P. C., Patel, H. H., & Sauter, L. D

complete list of authors

  • Suermann, PC||Patel, HH||Sauter, LD

publication date

  • April 2019