“The Strata-1 experiment will study the evolution of asteroidal regolith through long-duration exposure of four different simulant materials to the microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). A detailed understanding of asteroid mechanical evolution is needed in order to predict the surface characteristics of as-of-yet unvisited bodies, to understand the larger context of samples collected by missions such as OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa 1 and 2, and to mitigate risks for both manned and unmanned missions to asteroidal bodies. For manned missions in particular, we need to understand regolith dynamics in order to understand how to set anchors, safely sample/move material on asteroidal surfaces, process large volumes of material for in situ resource utilization (ISRU) purposes, and generally to predict behavior of large and small particles when asteroid surfaces are disturbed.
Strata-1 is a Class-1E payload that launched to ISS in spring of 2016 and is currently flying. Strata-1 includes four clear polycarbonate tubes containing different regolith simulant materials monitored with HackHD cameras that image the movement of the simulants during its year on-orbit. Data is recorded on SD memory cards, which the crew downlinks to the team every three months. The Strata-1 payload development team was led at NASA Johnson Space Center, with hardware primarily built at UCF, electronics provided by TSTAR, and with science team members from institutions around the country”
Fries, M. et al. (2015) Strata-1.,