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REVIEW ARTICLES

Properties and Mechanics of the Lunar Regolith

[+] Author and Article Information
Stewart W. Johnson

BDM International Inc, 1801 Randolph Road, Albuquerque New Mexico 87106

Koon Meng Chua

Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque New Mexico 87131

Appl. Mech. Rev 46(6), 285-300 (Jun 01, 1993) (16 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3120358 History: Online April 29, 2009

Abstract

Knowledge of the lunar regolith is essential to success in lunar missions whether crewed or robotic. The regolith is the loose material overlying more intact strata on the Moon. It varies in thickness from several meters on the maria or lunar seas to many meters on the highlands of the Moon. The regolith is the material humans walked and drove on from 1969 to 1972. In the future, people will use it for radiation protection and as a resource for recovery of oxygen, silicon, iron, aluminum, and titanium. Implanted in the regolith by the solar wind are recoverable amounts of volatiles such as hydrogen and helium. Increasing our knowledge of the mechanical properties of the regolith will enable constructors of the 21st Century to build habitats, do mining, establish manufacturing, and erect telescopes on the Moon. We already know much of the regolith from robotic and astronaut missions to the Moon. There is much more to be learned.

Copyright © 1993 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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