Location

Arlington, Virginia

Session Start Date

8-11-2008

Session End Date

8-16-2008

Abstract

This paper is a summary compilation of work accomplished over the past decade at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to understand the interactions between rocket exhaust gases and the soil of the Moon or Mars. This research is applied to a case study of the Apollo 12 landing, in which the blowing soil peppered the nearby Surveyor III spacecraft producing measurable surface damage, and to the Apollo 15 landing, in which the Lunar Module tilted backwards after landing in a crater that was obscured from sight by the blowing dust. The modeling coupled with empirical observations is generally adequate to predict the order of magnitude of effects in future lunar missions and to formulate a rough concept for mitigating the spray around a lunar base. However, there are many significant gaps in our understanding of the physics and more effort is needed to understand the problem of blowing soil so that specific technologies can be developed to support the lunar outpost.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Sixth Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2008 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Aug 11th, 12:00 AM Aug 16th, 12:00 AM

Cratering and Blowing Soil by Rocket Engines During Lunar Landings

Arlington, Virginia

This paper is a summary compilation of work accomplished over the past decade at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to understand the interactions between rocket exhaust gases and the soil of the Moon or Mars. This research is applied to a case study of the Apollo 12 landing, in which the blowing soil peppered the nearby Surveyor III spacecraft producing measurable surface damage, and to the Apollo 15 landing, in which the Lunar Module tilted backwards after landing in a crater that was obscured from sight by the blowing dust. The modeling coupled with empirical observations is generally adequate to predict the order of magnitude of effects in future lunar missions and to formulate a rough concept for mitigating the spray around a lunar base. However, there are many significant gaps in our understanding of the physics and more effort is needed to understand the problem of blowing soil so that specific technologies can be developed to support the lunar outpost.