COLLisions Into Dust Experiment 3

COLLIDE-3 is a Suborbital Experiment that consists of one (1) Impactor Box System (IBS) contained within an aluminum vacuum chamber, a video recording system, and a logic unit. These components are all mounted to an aluminum baseplate. The experiment is performed with pre-determined impact parameters (target material, impactor mass, and impactor velocity). The experiment is fully automated using an accelerometer and an internal timed circuitry system.

The IBS consists of a launcher system, a target tray, and a lighting system (shown on the left). A spherical impactor is propelled at low-speeds into a regolith reservoir via a spring-loaded launcher activated by a shape-memory-alloy system. The target tray, or IMG_4469reservoir, is rectangular in shape with dimensions of approximately 11.5 cm x 10.6 cm x 1.9 cm.  The tray is filled with granular material (JSC-1, lunar regolith) prior to impactor launch. The JSC-1 is held in place by a mechanical, sliding door until the experiment is ready to be operated in reduced-gravity conditions. The door consists of Teflon pins that run through door guides and is opened and closed with a digital linear actuator (stepper motor). An aluminum vacuum chamber was created for this experiment having dimensions of 30.5 cm x 19.1 x 18.7 cm. The chamber includes 3 ports: electrical, vacuum, and viewing. The electrical port houses an electrical feedthrough through which the circuitry logic unit is connected to the IBS. An o-ring face seal is threaded into the vacuum port along with a stainless steel ball valve attached for air removal and to seal the chamber after vacuum pumping.   To video record the experiment, a BK7 optical glass viewport was installed.

COLLIDE-3 vacuum chamber (left) and Impactor Box System (right)

Video data is recorded through the viewing porthole using a Prosilica GE 1050 GigE Vision Camera by Allied Vision Technologies. This camera has a pixel resolution of 1024 x 1024 and is capable of recording at 59 frames per second. A flat mirror mounted inside the IBS provides an orthogonal view of the impact. Illumination of the target area is provided by an internal array of LEDs.

Below is a short video clip showing the basic set up of the Impactor Box System.

Below is a short video of a COLLIDE collision into JSC Mars1

Below is a short video of a COLLIDE collision into Sand.