Conference Symposia

Four interrelated topical areas will run simultaneously to maximize time efficiency for conference attendees. Please review the topicial areas and keywords below.

Symposium 1: Granular Materials in Space Exploration

Chair:     Philip Metzger, PhD, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

This symposium will focus on the science and engineering of granular materials in space exploration. When we visit a planetary body, we land on granular materials, drive on them, dig in them, extract resources from them, build with them, and study them for science. Because granular materials can rearrange on a mesoscopic scale, their emergent behaviors are difficult to predict and are the subject of intensive research by physicists, engineers, geologists, and other disciplines. Research includes experiments, computer modeling, and collection of data from planetary missions. Technologies are being developed to study granular materials on the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and beyond. Sessions in this symposium will focus on lunar regolith and dust, asteroid regolith, soil mechanics, granular flow, rocket exhaust interactions with regolith, and anything that requires or supports our understanding of granular materials in space.

• anchoring in soils • geotechnical property measurement and prediction • regolith mechanics
• cratering • knowledge gaps and how to fill them • regolith simulants
• exhaust plume effects • new findings on specific solar system soils • numerical modeling
• granular flows • terramechanics in space • physical modeling

Symposium 2: Exploration and Utilization of Extra-Terrestrial Bodies

Co-Chairs:     Robert P. Mueller, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL
                    Kris Zacny, PhD, Honeybee Robotics, Pasadena, CA

This topic will focus on methodologies, techniques, instruments, concepts, missions and system level designs associated with robotic and human exploration of the Moon, Mars, Ocean Worlds, Near Earth Asteroids and other planetary bodies. Many of the various types of civil, geological, mining, chemical and materials processing engineering are needed to sustain space exploration and space commercialization. 

Standard practices will have to be adapted, and new practices will have to be developed, to be able to rely on the natural resources of near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars to sustain human and robotic activities in space. Engineering systems and economics concepts as well as mechanical, robotic, and structural engineering solutions are needed as well. While there is always room for robust and innovative new concepts, the testing, refining, and more testing of previously proposed concepts are especially sought.

Special Session Topics:

Robotic Mobility in Extreme Terrain
Lead:  Colin Creager, NASA-GRC and Kyle Johnson, NASA-GRC

When exploring extra-terrestrial bodies, such as the Moon and Mars, the terrain can often be very difficult to traverse.  Examples of such terrain challenges are very soft soil, sharp rocks, and steep slopes.  Adding to the these challenges is the fact that the terrain is often unknown before a mission, making it more difficult to plan accordingly.  The desire to explore regions such as these means that unconventional methods of mobility may be necessary.  This topic is focused on novel methods, tools, or technologies that serve to improve the traversability of an exploration vehicle in extreme terrain.  This includes, but is not limited to, the development or use of robotic systems, components, sensors, software, or techniques.  Emphasis should be on mobility improvements in the areas of efficiency, capability, or safety.            

Space Engineering and Construction
Lead:  Ramesh B. Malla, Ph.D., F.ASCE, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT and Kevin Greene, PE, M.ASCE, Las Vegas, NV

As the world’s space community prepares to return to the Moon, this time to stay, and to explore and then settle elsewhere in the Solar System on a long term basis, it is imperative that we continue to support the development of qualified engineering and construction concepts and guidance for these developments. This special topic min-track deals with innovative concepts, methods, designs, research, development, and applications related to all aspects of space construction, including in orbit and on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids.  Papers are solicited on topics including, but not limited to, the following: human habitats, structural facilities and bases, in-situ/local resource utilization, processing and development, mining, excavation techniques, life support systems, spacecraft, lunch system, space transportation, manufacturing, use robotics, and other.

Ocean Worlds
Lead:  Yosi Bar-Cohen, PhD, NASA-JPL and Steve Vance, PhD, NASA-JPL

In the search for life beyond Earth, NASA is seeking to explore bodies in the solar system and beyond that contain water.  Some of these bodies have vast subsurface oceans and are covered entirely with ice. They have gained the name “Ocean Worlds”.  Currently known ocean worlds are Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, Enceladus, Triton and Pluto, and possibly also Mimas and Dione. Exploring them involves significant challenges, including operation at extremely low temperatures and measurements kilometers deep, with the ultimate hope of drilling directly into the oceans.  This special session seeks to serve as a forum for communicating progress in addressing these challenges and highlighting efforts to address the most critical technology issues and solutions.

• economic geology of space     • mining and processing automation     • physical and numerical testing
• new equipment concepts     • equipment and system capability definition     • regolith operations
• orbital dynamics for mine planning and scheduling      • planetary drilling and regolith excavation     • mobility and robotics systems
• sample handling and processing technologies     • surface site preparation     • dust mitigation
• low gravity anchoring devices and techniques     • surface stabilization     • life support systems
• space commercialization, policy and law     • space transportation systems     • surface habitation systems
• human exploration and development of space     • in-situ resource utilization and development     • in-situ manufacturing
• technologies supporting space exploration     • communications and navigation     • remote sensing technologies
• in-situ instrumentation, sensors, site mapping and prospecting     • planetary mechanisms driven by electro-active acuation materials     • future missions and mission concepts, and related surface mission architectures
• commonalities and differences in lunar, martian, and asteroidal exploitation     • planetary analogs, engineering and science and earth extreme regions     • mineral processing in low gravity/vacuum/high-energy radiation environments
• extra-terrestrial and extreme terrestrial civil engineering and construction     • large, long-term terrestrial engineering projects as templates for non-terrestrial infrastructure development and financing     • other related topics

Symposium 3: Advanced Materials and Designs for Aerospace Structures and Terrestrial Structures Under Extreme Environments

Co-Chairs:     An Chen, PhD, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
                    Hongyu (Nick) Zhou, PhD, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Huntsville, AL

New techniques in experimental, computational, and analytical mechanics are expanding the understanding of the behavior of composite, smart, and other materials with applications to aerospace structures and other terrestrial structures under extreme environmental conditions. Exciting combinations of fundamental studies and practical applications by government and industry are expanding the design and analysis capabilities for aerospace structures as well as terrestrial structures to be used in extreme environments such as hydraulic structures. Recent advances and studies on materials and structures as well as their design aspects in aerospace and related structures are particularly solicited.

Special Session Topics:

Ballistic Impact and Crashworthiness of Aerospace Structures
Lead: Karen Jackson, PhD, NASA Langley

The special session is focused on high-speed testing and simulation involving structural impacts at velocities ranging from ballistic conditions to bird strikes to vehicle crash events.  Associated impact simulations utilizing state-of-the-art nonlinear explicit transient dynamic finite element codes are desired.  Impacts involving aerospace and automotive structures that are constructed of unique materials, especially advanced composite materials, are encouraged. Finally, the topic of vehicle crashworthiness encompasses a variety of subtopics such as human tolerance to impact, modeling of crash test dummies, seats and restraints, airbag technology, and modeling of impact surfaces including soil and water.  

Energy Efficient Structures and Habitats
Lead: Hongyu Zhou, PhD, Univ. of Alabama-Huntsville and An Chen, PhD, Iowa State Univ.

The special session is focused on energy-efficient structures and habitats that are suitable for earth and space applications. The topic encompasses a range of topics including the use of emerging materials and technologies such as Phase-Changing Materials (PCM), high-insulation structural composites, hydronic heating and cooling, combined structural and thermal analysis and simulations, and the structural responses under elevated (or cryogenic) temperatures. In addition, submissions pertaining to the scale-up applications of additive manufacturing (e.g., 3-D printing concrete and shelters) and fast-deployable structures are encouraged.

Advanced and Alternative Cementitious Materials
Lead: Christopher Ferraro, PhD, PE, Univ. of Florida

The use of new advanced and alternative building materials for the creation and maintenance of structures is beneficial to industry and the environment.   This special session includes topics related to new and advanced concepts pertaining to green, resilient, and high-performance materials. The session includes the contributions to the behavior of alternative materials including mechanics, fatigue, fracture, durability, and resilience. Additionally, submissions that address issues in additive manufacturing, and materials applicable for terrestrial and extraterrestrial structures, are encouraged.

• novel new structural components and systems   • structural health monitoring • nano/micro-mechanics
• safety and health monitoring of aerospace and hydraulic structures   • impact mechanics of composites  

• green and high-performance materials for application in extreme

  • bioplastics and biocomposites  
• materials and structures for application to space vehicles and
extraterrestrial structures
   3-D printed and fast-deployable structures  
• experimental, analytical and numerical techniques for composites,
concrete and other aerospace structures or structures for extreme environments
• fatigue, fracture, and damage mechanics
• resilience and sustainablility of materials and structures

Symposium 4: Structures in Challenging Environments:  Dynamics, Controls, Smart Structures, Health Monitoring, and Sensors

Co-Chairs:     Ramesh B. Malla, PhD, F.ASCE, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
                    Gangbing Song, PhD, University of Houston, Houston, TX

The technical areas of dynamics, controls, and evaluation and condition monitoring of engineering structures and systems, specially designed and built to operate in challenging environments on Earth and in space, are of extreme importance. Integration of sensors into structural and material systems enables more effective and precisely tuned performance, as well as remote evaluation and control of space and terrestrial structures systems. The design and analysis of structures in challenging environments on any planetary body need special care beyond current terrestrial practice. Space environments – on planetary surfaces or in orbit – expose systems to radiation, micro/reduced gravity, vacuum, debris/meteoroid impact, and temperature extremes. Overcoming these significant challenges is imperative to the success of any structure in space and in extreme and challenging environments on Earth. In addition, educators face challenges in using emerging technology to improve the education of the engineers of the future

Special Session Topics:

Planetary Environment Impact on AIT Requirements for Space Systems
Lead:  Alexander M. Jablonski, Ph.D., Canadian Space Agency; Ottawa, Canada and
Kin F. Man, Ph.D., NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, USA

Currently, many space agencies and international scientific teams are involved in planning planetary missions to terrestrial bodies such as the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, moons of outer planets, and even to near-earth asteroids. Space systems for these missions have to operate in different or more extreme environments. Assembly Integration and Test (AIT) requirements need to be developed for more stringent qualification testing at the assembly/subsystem level or at the full spacecraft or rover/flight system level. This session focuses on the impact of planetary environments (e.g. temperature, vacuum, radiation, planetary atmospheres, dust, soil conditions, and other geophysical effects) on AIT requirements for space systems to survive the operational phase of the mission and design or mitigation techniques to improve their survival.

Tensegrity: structural concept and applications
Lead:  Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, Ph.D., University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

Tensegrity systems are reticulated structures composed of tension and compression members in a stable self-equilibrium. They are materially efficient form-found systems that provide the possibility of designing strong yet lightweight structures. Furthermore, in a tensegrity structure, active elements can be integrated in the structural system to enable structural or shape adjustments according to environmental or functional requirements. Tensegrity structures are thus excellent candidates for structures in challenging environments.

Structures under Wind/Wave Hazards: Theory and Applications
Lead:  Wei Zhang, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

In the challenging environments, such as high wind and ocean waves for coastal infrastructures, it is necessary to design structures to respond automatically and actively to these hazardous elements that could interact actively or passively with structures. This special session deals with topics related to new and advanced concept, methods and applications on structures subjected to wind/wave hazards to improve infrastructure resilience including, but not limited to the following: wind/wave & structure interactions related vibration control and mitigation; fatigue and fracture; and structural resiliency.

Advanced Concepts on Renewable and Green Energy Harvesting
Leads:  Benjie Balser, Ion Power Group, LLC and Ramesh B. Malla, PhD, Univ. of Connecticut

To meet ever increasing demand of energy consumption world-wide in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, various renewable energy sources have been investigated and some already successfully used to generate electricity.  This session deals with new innovative structural systems, concepts, methodologies, and their applications of harvesting green and renewable energy from wind, ocean waves, vibrations, and other sources.

Specialized Sensors-based Structural Damage Detection and Health Monitoring
Leads:  Ramesh B. Malla, PhD, Univ. of Connecticut and Gangbing Song, PhD, Univ. of Houston

For durability, safety, efficient operation and functioning of structures, effective health monitoring, damage detection, and vibration control measures are necessary. This is more important for structures built to operate in harsh and hazardous environments.  Special sessions are proposed that focus on (1) Piezoceramic based structural damage detection, and (2) Fiber optic sensor based structural health monitoring.

• smart and intelligent structures   • shape memory alloy actuators   • structural health and condition monitoring
• dynamics and controls   • modeling of intelligent structures   • fiber optic, piezeoelectric, and shape memory alloy-based sensors
• structural vibration control via active and semi-active approaches   • nanomaterial-based and biologically inspired sensors, actuators, and structures   • tracking and control of structures in challenging environments
• innovative techniques/methodologies of design and analysis of structures   • structures in extreme environments on Earth, Moon, Mars, and in space    
• remote experiments   • other special topics related to dynamics, controls, intelligent/smart structures, and sensors    

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