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Planetary Geomechanics and the Future of Geotechnical Engineering – A Special Session at RAC2022

Jun. 03, 2022 2 minutes read

By Reginald Hammah and Frema Awuku-Asabere

Here are some intriguing “do you know” questions for you:

  • Do you know the value of acceleration due to gravity for the Moon? What about that for Mars?
  • Do you know the impact these values would have on the design and performance of structures on these planetary/space objects?
  • Do you know that many other planets, moons, and massive asteroids contain unimaginable mineral resources? Do you know that some are very scarce and immensely valuable for our lifestyles on Earth?
  • Do you know that the Mars rover, Spirit, only stopped communicating with Earth when it encountered a geotechnical problem? It got stuck in soft sand!

Believe it or not, mining in space will become a reality in a few decades. Futurists such as Jeff Bezos already imagine heavy industry moving to space while Earth becomes a residential area. Others are investigating ways of harnessing planetary resources to improve life on Earth.

Efforts to extract resources or build infrastructure on planetary objects will require geotechnical engineering. At the Rocscience Africa Conference, we plan a fun session to explore how geotechnical engineering can contribute to space exploration and mining efforts. See you in Accra on August 2-3, 2022.

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