Robotic mars and lunar landing pad construction using in situ rocks

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


When landing on the Moon or Mars the rocket exhaust plume interaction with the regolith results in sandblasting surrounding facilities at best or excavating a large hole underneath the lander at worst. When a lunar or Mars base is established, multiple landings and launches are needed and thus a landing pad would be required. Several methods have been proposed for constructing a landing pad but so far none are adequate. Local rocks were chosen as the in situ construction material due to the rocks being abundantly available in many locations. This paper presents and discusses the results of a Phase I NASA STTR project in the form of a landing pad CFD analysis to estimate expected forces on the rocks due to the rocket plume and landing pad construction material experiments in the form of rock bonding.

Publication Title

Earth and Space 2018: Engineering for Extreme Environments - Proceedings of the 16th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments