Peña-Asensio, E., Trigo-Rodríguez, J.M., Sort, J., Ibáñez-Insa, J. and Rimola, A. (2024), Mechanical properties of minerals in lunar and HED meteorites from nanoindentation testing: Implications for space mining. Meteorit Planet Sci.


This study analyzes the mechanical and elemental properties of lunar meteorites DHOFAR 1084, JAH 838, NWA 11444, and HED meteorite NWA 6013. Utilizing microscale rock mechanics experiments, that is, nanoindentation testing, this research reveals significant heterogeneity in both mechanical and elemental attributes across the mineral samples. Olivines, pyroxene, feldspar, and spinel demonstrate similar compositional and mechanical characteristics. Conversely, other silicate and oxide minerals display variations in their mechanical properties. Terrestrial olivines subjected to nanoindentation tests exhibit increased hardness and a higher Young's modulus than their lunar counterparts. A linear correlation is observed between the H/Er ratio and both plastic and elastic energies. Additionally, the alignment of mineral phases along a constant H/Er ratio suggests variations in local porosity. This study also highlights the need for further research focusing on porosity, phase insertions within the matrix, and structural orientations to refine our understanding of these mechanical characteristics. The findings have direct implications for in situ resource utilization strategies and future state-of-the-art impact models. This comprehensive characterization serves as a foundational resource for future research efforts in space science and mining.

Original article

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