Geotechnical Aspects of Martian Regolith Simulant JSC Mars-1

Jesus Baca, University of Texas at El Paso


The primary objective of this research was to mechanistically characterize the physical and mechanical properties of the JSC Mars-1 regolith simulant to better understand its physical, mechanical, and physio-chemical properties. JSC Mars-1 is a regolith simulant developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) based on the data collected by instruments on the Viking and the Pathfinder landers. A comprehensive experiment matrix was devised to simulate the extraterrestrial compaction characteristics of unbound simulants in the laboratory. The resilient properties, strength parameters, and deformation potential were of primary interest in this effort. In addition, the influence that the chemical composition of JSC Mars-1 has in its mechanical properties was also studied. For this, the strength and deformation potential of the JSC-1 Mars-1 were contrasted with limestone materials collected from El Paso, Texas. The study also investigated the contribution of the magnitude and method of application of the compaction energy on the dilatancy of particulate materials in the laboratory. The laboratory experiments showed significant strain rate dependency of the strength parameters for simulants at multiple relative compaction levels. This underscores the significance of nonlinear and anisotropic regolith modeling for the proper determination of orthogonal strength, deformation potential, and stability of platforms.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Baca, Jesus, "Geotechnical Aspects of Martian Regolith Simulant JSC Mars-1" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28541161.