In microgravity environments (e.g. on/near the surface of an asteroid or aboard the International Space Station), the interactions of grains (centimeters and smaller) are strongly influenced by non-gravitational forces. The behavior of regolith (dust) grains drives the morphological evolution of the surface of asteroids as well as the design of future spacecraft sample collection and mobility technologies. Additionally, the properties of granular materials can be exploited in the design of new robotic end effectors. This talk will discuss ongoing computational and experimental work investigating the influence of electrostatic, cohesive, and magnetic forces on the behavior of granular materials in microgravity.
Dr. Christine Hartzell
Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the behavior of grains dominated by non-gravitational forces, with an emphasis on the evolution of asteroids and the design of spacecraft. Asteroid 9319 was named “Hartzell” in recognition of her contributions to the field of asteroid science. Prior to joining the faculty at UMD, Dr. Hartzell was a Keck Institute for Space Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech. She completed her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.