A Cubesat Centrifuge for Long Duration Milligravity Research

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Erik Asphaug, Jekan Thangevelautham, Andrew Klesh, Aman Chandra, Ravi Nallapu, Laksh Raura, Mercedes Herreras-Martinez, Stephen Schwartz
(Submitted on 22 May 2017)

We advocate a low-cost strategy for long-duration research into the 'milligravity' environment of asteroids, comets and small moons, where surface gravity is a vector field typically less than 1/1000 the gravity of Earth. Unlike the microgravity environment of space, there is a directionality that gives rise, over time, to strangely familiar geologic textures and landforms. In addition to advancing planetary science, and furthering technologies for hazardous asteroid mitigation and in-situ resource utilization, simplified access to long-duration milligravity offers significant potential for advancing human spaceflight, biomedicine and manufacturing. We show that a commodity 3U (10×10×34 cm3) cubesat containing a laboratory of loose materials can be spun to 1 rpm = 2π/60 s−1 on its long axis, creating a centrifugal force equivalent to the surface gravity of a kilometer-sized asteroid. We describe the first flight demonstration, where small meteorite fragments will pile up to create a patch of real regolith under realistic asteroid conditions, paving the way for subsequent missions where landing and mobility technology can be flight-proven in the operational environment, in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). The 3U design can be adapted for use onboard the International Space Station (ISS) to allow for variable gravity experiments under ambient temperature and pressure for a broader range of experiments.

Comments:    Accepted to NPJ Microgravity, this https URL
Subjects:    Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as:    arXiv:1705.07845 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1705.07845v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Erik Asphaug  
[v1] Mon, 22 May 2017 16:49:14 GMT (640kb)

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