Dr. Adrienne Dove


Asteroids and other small planetary bodies are covered in a loose, dynamic layer of multi-sized dusty particles. We are focused on developing methods to further understand this surface regolith behavior to inform future landing missions on these small bodies for resource collection. The Strata-1 experiment was designed to study granular behavior in a passive, microgravity, airless environment. These conditions, simulating that of an asteroid’s surface, were attained by installing Strata-1 aboard the International Space Station for 347 days. In this experiment, we took images of red, green, and blue multi-sized glass shards within a tube to better understand their stratigraphy. Images of this experiment were analyzed using a procedure written in Python to assess surface area coverage for each shard color. This paper focuses on the development of these analysis methods, which use a combination of automated and manual analysis to demonstrate the validity of methods used, as well as to characterize the particle behavior beyond position by including movement patterns amongst the colored shard groups and sub-regions of the experiment tube. Our methods proved to yield valuable insights on the shard stratification across a long duration of time. Our automated procedure offers a viable approach to future experiments which seek to understand small particle behavior in asteroidal conditions.

About the Author

Gillian Gomer graduated from UCF with a B.S. in Biology and minors in physics and computer science. During her three years at the Center for Microgravity under the direction of Dr. Adrienne Dove, she studied small-particle aggregation and stratification in low- and micro-gravity. Gillian is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Horticulture at Cornell University. Currently, she is using her UCF research background to aid her in understanding how biological and chemical influences from plant roots and soil-microbes also impact soil structure, with an emphasis on rhizosphere hydrology and how this can impact future plant growth on Earth and in extraterrestrial environments.

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Physics Commons



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