Strata-1 (Strata-1) - 11.22.16

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Strata-1 investigates the properties and behavior of regolith on small, airless bodies. Regolith is the impact-shattered "soil" found on asteroids, comets, the Moon, and other airless worlds, but it is different from soil here on Earth in that it contains no living material. Strata-1's goal is to give us answers about how regolith behaves and moves in microgravity, how easy or difficult it is to anchor a spacecraft in regolith, how it interacts with spacecraft and spacesuit materials, and other important properties. It is important to NASA to know how to set anchors in regolith, how to safely move and process large volumes of regolith, and predict and prevent risk to spacecraft and astronauts visiting these small bodies. Also, understanding the whole-body context of material returned to Earth from small asteroids, such as by the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission, the JAXA Hayabusa 1 and 2 missions, and the proposed NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is scientifically beneficial.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Marc Fries, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Strata-1

Principal Investigator(s)
Marc Fries, Ph.D., NASA JSC, Houston, TX, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Kristen John, Ph.D., NASA JSC, Houston, TX, United States
Paul Abell, Ph.D., NASA JSC, Houston, TX, United States
Daniel Britt, Ph.D., University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, United States
Daniel Durda, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, United States
Dan Scheeres, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States
Stanley Love, Ph.D., NASA JSC, Houston, TX, United States
Christine Hartzell, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States
Joshua Colwell, Ph.D., University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, United States
Paul Sanchez-Lana, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States

Developer(s)
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, United States
Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, United States
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - February 2017; March 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
47/48,49/50,51/52

Previous Missions
None

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • We do not adequately understand the behavior of regolith on small, airless bodies.  Information NASA's Stardust, ESA's Rosetta, and JAXA's Hayabusa-1 missions suggest that regolith may flow like sediments in a streambed as asteroids and comets deform.  New, fundamental research is needed on regolith physics in prolonged microgravity.
  • The Strata-1 experimental facility exposes a series of regolith simulants to prolonged microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS). Changes in regolith stratigraphy, size sorting, and particle migration are monitored by video images, and closely examined after return of regolith samples to Earth.
  • Strata-1 can be used in a range of future experiments to include the behavior of carbonaceous materials like that seen on carbonaceous chondrite asteroids and Phobos, which have been identified as exploration targets for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM). Additionally, future Strata investigations can include exposure studies of spacecraft and spacesuit materials to carbonaceous materials to identify materials-related risks. Other investigations can include tests of anchoring techniques in regolith under microgravity.
  • Strata-1 provides fundamentally new information on the behavior of regolith on small, airless bodies. Strata-1 also provides a facility for future investigations that are important for the exploration of small, airless worlds.

Description
Strata-1 is designed to investigate fundamental properties of regolith on small airless bodies. The Strata-1 facility features multiple transparent tubes that are partially filled with regolith simulants which are exposed to extended microgravity and the ambient vibration environment on ISS. Simulant materials for Strata-1 include pulverized meteorite material of known size distribution, glass beads of known size distribution, regolith simulants composed of terrestrial materials, and other similar materials selected to either answer specific scientific questions and/or for their fidelity to regolith that astronauts and/or hardware encounter on upcoming NASA missions. All tubes include the capability to prevent movement of the regolith during launch and landing, using a device inside each tube that lightly compresses the regolith and prevents motion. Future Strata experiments may include tests of anchors in regolith under microgravity, tests to quantify adhesion of silicate and carbonaceous regolith to spacesuit and spaceflight hardware, and cohesion properties of diffuse regolith.

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Applications

Space Applications
Strata-1 supports the space program by enabling new interpretation of mission results from a wide range of NASA missions to include Stardust, Deep Impact/EPOXI, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR), and potentially Apollo. The new Strata information on regolith behavior and mechanics directly assists planning for the Asteroid Redirect Mission ARM), the OSIRIS-REx mission, In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) efforts on small bodies, and upcoming NASA missions to comets and asteroids.

Earth Applications
The Strata-1 study advances our fundamental understanding of the mechanical behavior of loose material. Results may find utility in any application that involves the mixing of dry materials, such as pharmaceutical tablet manufacture, the study of dune migration and dynamics, and similar fields.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Strata-1 requires enough electricity from ISS to operate four cameras, white LED lighting, an electronic package for controlling the cameras and lighting, and support electronics.  The electronic controller package is pre-programmed and does not require crew interaction. Crew service is requested as described in "Brief Research Operations".

Strata-1 must be installed by the crew on delivery to ISS.  Once every three months, a suite of four SD cards is swapped out for blank cards on the Strata-1 instrument, and the data on the used cards is transferred to an ISS computer for transmission to Earth. Upon completion of the one-year Strata-1 mission, the Strata-1 instrument must be packaged and transferred for return to Earth.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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Imagery

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The Strata-1 experiment as assembled and ready for transport to ISS.  Image courtesy of NASA.

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A view of the contents of two of Strata-1's tubes.  The regolith simulant on the left is a simplified model consisting of angular fragments of colored glass, sorted into three sizes.  The tube on the right contains pulverized meteorite material to closely resemble the actual regolith on a small asteroid, also sorted into three sizes. Image courtesy of NASA.

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A CAD model of the Strata-1 instrument showing the locations of the regolith simulant tubes (red, green, and blue in this image).  Image courtesy of NASA.

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