Friday Gatherings

RMERC Friday Seminars have resumed for the Spring Semester 2017.    

They will be held every other Friday at 4pm in the RMERC Conference Room.

All are welcome; event is open to the public.


Presentations for Friday, April 28, 2017 are as follows:

PresenterMr. Nathainail Bashir, PhD Candidate       Advisor: Dr. Neil Anderson

Title:  "Determination of Optimum Parameter Settings of Multi Chanel Analysis of Surface Waves Application in Karst Terrain. A case study in Southwest Missouri"


The objective of this study was to investigate the current state of the practice with regards to MASW application in karst investigation and recommend the optimum parameter setting and pattern of arrays to acquire the desire results. The karst environment is one of the most challenging in terms of finding depth to intact rock. In karst environment, the selection of the best-suited geophysical method is not always straightforward, due to the highly variable and unpredictable target characteristics. The multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) and Electrical resistivity (ERT) two geophysical techniques were applied. The MASW data was acquired at each test location using different array lengths and different array orientations (to increase the probability of getting interpretable data in karst terrain). Based on the comparative analyses of MASW and ERT data, it determined that 2.5-ft geophone spacing with 10ft and 30ft offset gave generated depth of bedrock accurately. With 5-ft geophone spacing it is possible to image the subsurface to greater depth but unidentifiable dispersion curves would be generated.


PresenterMr. Egboche Unobe, Graduate Student       Advisor: Dr. Leslie Gertsch

Title:  "Mining Asteroids for Volatile Gases: An Experimental Demonstration of Extraction and Recovery."


Gaseous compounds trapped within Carbonaceous Asteroids may prove to be an important target for prospective space miners in the near-term. Volatile release is from hydrated and carbonated phases present as part of the mineralogical make-up of these asteroids thereby making such bodies attractive as feedstock for the production of H20, CO2 and simple organic compounds. A source of these gas compounds in orbit provides an opportunity to locally produce space-craft propellant and other life-support gases through the application of In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Local availability of fuel will dramatically change the economics of Space exploration and may prove to be a critical building block in the development of long term solar system infrastructure.

For this study, an experimental vacuum system was designed and built to test the technical validity of radiatively heating asteroid simulants to extract contained gaseous resource while simultaneously recovering evolved products using a cryogenic trap as part of a simple system. A furnace placed within the main vacuum chamber carries the sample and provides simulated solar-thermal heating in the air-less environment, temperature is applied in ramped steps and held at four plateaus from ambient to a maximum of ~670 0C. A quadrupole mass spectrometer scans the spectrum from 1-200 atomic mass units to record the composition of the residual environment as various gas species are produced from the simulant and retrieved as Ice on the surface of a Liquid Nitrogen cooled cold trap. K-type thermocouples emplaced at specified positions within the simulant sample mass yield information on the nature and progress of heat and mass transfer.

Results indicate that volatile production from heating is driven by predictable endothermic reactions such as dehydration, de-hydroxylation and de-carbonization. Water production from hydroxyl groups in the crystal structure of the Mg-serpentine mineral phase is an important process that takes place above 400 0C, significant but much smaller amounts of CO2, CO and CH4 was also released during heating tests. Cryo-trapping was furthermore found to effectively capture released species within limits. Experimental evidence is hereby shown that supports the viability of the use of thermal methods in the extraction and recovery of volatile resources from Carbonaceous Asteroids.


 *If you are interested in giving a presentation at a future Gathering or would like to receive event notification emails, please contact Melissa Williamson or Kathleen Morris.