Summary of the KRET project

            Title:                                        Mole penetrator optimization using the numerical model and operational tests

Project nr :                               98103

Assignee :                                Space Research Centre PAS

Project Manager:                      dr inż. Karol Seweryn

Timeframe of the project:         01.01.2009 – 20.06.2011

Sponsoring entity :                   Ministry of Economy in the frame of the PECS cooperation with European Space Agency

                Geological Penetrator KRET is a device designed to work in the subsurface layers of the solar system bodies. It was created in the years 2006 - 2008 in the Space Research Centre PAS in Warsaw. The most important task of the device is to hubbing  beneath the surface regolith, along with small sensors serving for a variety of scientific studies, including measurements of thermal, humidity, chemical composition, optical and spectral. With our unique design, is a small device (weight: about 0.5 kg, diameter: 2 cm, length: 33 cm) having a minimum power consumption at 0.3W is able to recess to a few meters below the surface of the Moon for example.

                The aim of the project was to determine the optimum and key parameters which allows the KRET device to maximize recess of the device with in the operating conditions on the moon. The project was based on the prototype penetrator KRET and software to simulate the interactions between the granular material and penetrators. The project was implemented in the Space Research Centre Polish Academy of Sciences and the Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas, AGH University in Krakow.

               The project has been built a number of test systems allowing for checking the effectiveness of penetrometers in different materials and with different values ​​of gravity. Test benches are composed of several subsystems: from the system providing the possibility of carrier testing to 5m in vertical or a 2m version of variable inclination. Through an automatic regolith filling system, and ending on the remote system with the use of penetrator detection of electromagnetic system. It is worth noting that the project has been developed at AGH WWNiG the Polish lunar analog material, which was used for testing.

                In the second phase of the project conducted two test campaigns, which were obtained through the functional characteristics of the functions of the type of material penetrators and its compaction. At the same time experimentally confirmed that the KRET penetrator is able delve into 5 m below the surface and that the speed of the cavity depends on the compaction of the material and energy of equipment. Tests have shown that progress of penetrator does not depend significantly on gravity.

              Comparing the results of numerical simulations and tests, identifies the main factors determining the effectiveness of the penetrator type KRET. In particular, they are energy of device, which should be as large as possible in the default cross-section of the penetrator and the ratio of mass of the hammer to the mass of the housing, which should be greater than unity, assuming unchanged relative to the mass of counter mass weight of the hammer 10:1. The designated parameters allowed us to develop improved design KRET 2.


             Photo below shows a team of people working in the project during the test campaign in the spring of 2011.


Fig.1. People involved in the project (from left) Jerzy Grygorczuk (SRC PAS), Roman Wawrzaszek (SRC PAS), Łukasz Wiśniewski (SRC PAS), Tomasz Rybus (SRC PAS), Łukasz (WWNiG AGH), Karol Seweryn along with KRET penetrator (SRC PAS) and Stanisław Bednarz (WWNiG AGH). In the background 5m test Bed.


Details of theproject can be found on the website: