A Grain-Scale Study of Mojave Mars Simulant (Mms-1)

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number4730
Journal / PublicationSensors
Issue number14
Online published10 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021



Space exploration has attracted significant interest by government agencies and the scientific community in recent years in an attempt to explore possible scenarios of settling of facilities on the Moon and Mars surface. One of the important components in space exploration is related with the understanding of the geophysical and geotechnical characteristics of the surfaces of planets and their natural satellites and because of the limitation of available extra-terrestrial samples, many times researchers develop simulants, which mimic the properties and characteristics of the original materials. In the present study, characterization at the grain-scale was performed on the Mojave Mars Simulant (MMS-1) with emphasis on the frictional behavior of small size samples which follow the particle-to-particle configuration. Additional characterization was performed by means of surface composition and morphology analysis and the crushing behavior of individual grains. The results from the study present for the first time the micromechanical tribological response of Mars simulant, and attempts were also made to compare the behavior of this simulant with previously published results on other types of Earth and extra-terrestrial materials. Despite some similarities between Mars and Moon simulants, the unique characteristics of the MMS-1 samples resulted in significant differences and particularly in severe damage of the grain surfaces, which was also linked to the dilation behavior at the grain-scale.

Research Area(s)

  • Friction, Grain-scale mechanics, Mars simulant, Micro-scale experimentation, Space exploration, Vesicular texture

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