UH Hilo student’s lunar research published in scientific journal

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Date: Monday, October 3, 2011
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A study on the soil impact from Apollo moon landings co-authored by a University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student was recently published by the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Jacob Smith, working with UH Hilo’s Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), co-authored the research in collaboration with Philip Metzger and John Lane of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center using data collected from tests conducted on the Big Island in January and February of 2010.

In their study, “Phenomenology of soil erosion due to rocket exhaust on the Moon and the Mauna Kea lunar test site,” the trio utilized a high speed camera to interpret Apollo descent videos, terrain photography and ascent videos combined with the results of experiments involving rocket thruster firings upon the tephra (volcanic fragments) at a lunar test site on Mauna Kea. They also measured the impact when various soil firming techniques such as dampening and compacting were employed.

PISCES is an international research and education center dedicated to promoting student research and educational activities through its mission of sustaining life on the Moon and beyond. It has become an important facility for use by NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the German Space Agency (DLR) for their exploration research, demonstration and testing programs.


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