Research lays foundation for building on the moon -- or anywhere else

Sep 29, 2010

The key to the stability of any building is its foundation, but it is difficult to test some building sites in advance - such as those on the moon. New research from North Carolina State University is helping resolve the problem by using computer models that can utilize a small sample of soil to answer fundamental questions about how soil at a building site will interact with foundations.

"If you are going to build a large structure, you have to run a lot of tests on the building site to learn how the soil will behave in relation to the building's foundation," says Dr. Matt Evans, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. "How stable is it? How much might the foundation settle over time? Traditionally, that testing process involves a great deal of equipment, time and money."

But in some situations, that equipment, time and money is not available. For example, it would be tough to transport the relevant equipment to the surface of the .

"We initiated this project, with funding from the North Carolina Space Grant, to answer questions that are essential to the construction of buildings on the moon," Evans says. "It's cost-prohibitive to do traditional testing on lunar sites, so we developed a technique for applying computer models that can use a tiny sample to tell us about the potential interface between moon soil and anything we might build."

And the model may also have applications closer to home. The model could potentially be used to assess conditions for remote sites where traditional testing is impractical or unduly expensive. For example, it could be useful for military applications or for siting remote research facilities.

The paper, "Analysis of Pile Behavior in Granular Soils Using DEM," focuses on how the model can be used when incorporating Earth-specific variables - such as . However, those variables can be modified to account for conditions on the moon, or even on Mars.

Explore further: Measuring on ice: Researchers create 'smart' ice skating blade

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Improving Roads with Ethanol Co-products

Oct 16, 2007

Iowa’s soil is great for growing corn. But it’s not so great for building roads. Soil around the Midwest is mostly soft clay and till deposited by glaciers, said Halil Ceylan, an Iowa State assistant professor ...

NASA grant to tap lunar resources

Jul 28, 2004

Computer models may lead to propellant production from lunar mantle Florida Tech associate professor of chemical engineering, Dr. Jonathan Whitlow, received a grant of nearly $50,000 from NASA to develop computer models that can lead ...

How much nitrogen is too much for corn?

Apr 23, 2007

North Carolina State researchers recently discovered a test that quickly predicts nitrogen levels in the humid soil conditions of the southeastern United States. These scientists report that the Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test ...

Scientists sample soil in the Smokies

Dec 05, 2005

Scientists say they plan a soil study in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park next spring to determine levels of nutrient loss and acid accumulation.

New test assesses gas drilling effects on soils

Apr 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers have developed the Cornell Soil Health Test to evaluate soil response to management on different types of land. It's intended to assess changes due to gas drilling work.

Recommended for you

When emotions control objects

20 hours ago

Dimming a light, immersive playing on a computer, and tracking yoga exercises in real time – sensors developed by SmartCardia use various vital signs to transmit data to a host of everyday objects.

Tailored 'activity coaching' by smartphone

Oct 17, 2014

Today's smartphone user can obtain a lot of data about his or her health, thanks to built-in or separate sensors. Researcher Harm op den Akker of the University of Twente (CTIT Institute) now takes this health ...

WASP has printer, will travel, to make houses

Oct 16, 2014

At Maker Faire Rome, an Italian 3D printer company is demonstrating a tall, portable machine that will bring 3D-printed dwellings to impoverished countries. WASP has been exploring low-cost solutions to ...

User comments : 8

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
I did do the model of city of the Moon. My model has dome design area and five hangers base area. Golden dome that protect the city area.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
I am not in University area. I am in somewhat smarter, but smart in area, places and more. My skill are very diffent area. I alway wanted to go to the Moon and build the city area bigger with Tools. That why I not in the University Area. That show your blue color. In my computer Model area. DO you think you know how. I did study it for a long time about Three or Six years on Thinking and doing on my computer model area. It is hard to do this job that know one wanted to go on the Moon area. It not good to think about your Nearby Area.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
I just wanted to tell you about my Project Area. Not Mars area. Here is the plan,I do. Job is to design to live long time. Not short time area. That live and work to do the job. By doing it. That my goal area.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
Abstract the moon soil and hammer in between it and accelerator the machine that squeezed inside and squash inside it. The N Crane that move 360 degree and the bottom leg wheel 360 degree. That build the Moon area.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
The Moon city Builder Crane post on the middle and move in a circle area. That move rigth and left crane. That goes up and down to build the City Dome area. What else I gave the answer My design Area of building a Dome City the you can breath in and to live in.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
The Moon City is simple to me. But not other do me Area or My Moon City. I will build lots of robots to do it. I will make a hole to move it. More Robots Faster it finish the project area. Building the water tank and abstract the water in to two part. One is hydrogen and Oxygen area in it. One to breath and the other for the machine to do it or robots to do it.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
The Moon City is to play fun but to work too. You do have go outside to do work on doing things. The moon is to have fun but needed to work to breath in. More things to show you but do your homework and study it very carefull. TO ME IS Work TO Breath in. The job is simple to do it. You needed knowing of what to do on the moon.
James007E
not rated yet Sep 30, 2010
The City could play inside but TO LIVE ON THE MOON is TO Work to breath in. The only thing is survive in it. The Stuff that think it but not to destoy it.