Anchoring a lander on an asteroid using foam stabilization

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX13CC69P
Agency Tracking Number: 124731
Amount: $124,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: S4.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
NM, Albuquerque, NM, 87111-8346
DUNS: 859106296
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jan-Michael Gosau
 Enviro/Engr Projects Mgr
 (505) 346-1688
 jgosau@adherent-tech.com
Business Contact
 Susan Switzer
Title: Business Official
Phone: (505) 346-1685
Email: adherenttech@comcast.net
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
NASA has proposed several missions to land a craft on an asteroid and potentially to return samples from it. While large asteroids in the asteroid belt can exhibit a significant amount of gravity, most near-earth asteroids are small and show a surface gravity of less than 0.1% of earth. Landing, and staying on the surface of such a small object is a challenge, especially for manned missions. Just the movement of an astronaut in and out of the lander during excursions would most likely dislodge the vehicle. Similarly, drilling for a sample return mission requires the ability to exert force onto the surface without pushing the lander off the surface. A solid anchoring system is required, but made difficult due to the potentially rubble-like consistency of small asteroids, which makes classic mechanical anchoring difficult.Adherent Technologies, Inc. (ATI) has developed innovative materials for space use for over a decade. These include inflatable structures, self-sealing membranes, coatings for satellites and solar sails, and vacuum-deployable foams. The proposed program will combine these technologies to produce an anchoring system that deploys either a sticky screen that can attach to a solid rock formation or a foam injection anchor that can bind a large amount of rubble as an anchoring point. The system is modular, and a decision which anchoring method to use only needs to be made on location.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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