Antonio Bobet delivers keynote lecture at rock mechanics symposium
Antonio Bobet, the Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor of Civil Engineering, delivered a keynote lecture, titled "Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitats on the Moon and Mars," at the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) 53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium on June 24th in New York City.
Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitats on the Moon and Mars
The creation of safe and comfortable habitations is one of humankind’s oldest activities. Millennia of experimentation and planning have brought the creation and maintenance of habitats on Earth to a high degree of sophistication. However, humankind is now faced with new challenges as we begin to move beyond the Earth’s relatively benign surface and out into Space. Beyond the protection of Earth’s atmosphere, future space explorers and colonists face new challenges stemming from the lack of air pressure, oxygen, wild temperature fluctuations and hazards such as meteoroid impacts and intense particle radiation. Countering these challenges to provide livable conditions in Space requires the highest applications of engineering and technology. Any human settlement in space will require excavation, construction and transportation of large masses of material from one place to another. Accomplishing these tasks in the Space environment, on nearly or completely airless bodies with less gravity than the Earth such as the Moon, Mars or asteroids is not beyond our current capabilities, but will require extensive planning combined with both theoretical and experimental studies long before we even begin to construct in situ pilot projects.
The seminar gives an Engineering perspective to the challenges associated with the creation of permanent, safe and resilient habitats on the Moon and Mars and explores the possibility of utilizing empty lava tubes under the surface of the Moon and Mars as potential shelters for future astronauts. The existence of such tubes on the Moon was first proposed by using images taken from skylights (holes into the tubes) by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and SELenological and ENgineering Explorer (SELENE) spacecraft and was later supported by gravity data obtained from the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.
Dr. Bobet is the Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University and Guest Professor and Visiting Chair Professor of the Innovation Center for Disaster Prevention at the School of Civil Engineering, Tongji University, China. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Technical University of Madrid in Spain and a Doctor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Bobet’s areas of interest include rock fracture mechanics, wave propagation through fractured media and underground structures.
He has authored or co-authored more than one hundred and fifty technical publications. He is the Co-Editor in Chief of Underground Space. He was elected member of the Board of Directors of the American Rock Mechanics Association in 2009 and served as its President from 2013 to 2015. He was the Chair of the 2012 U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium and is a member of the Geotechnical Advisory Board (GAB) of the Panama Canal. He was appointed a High-end Foreign Expert by the Government of China in 2016.
Dr. Bobet has received a number of awards, including the ASCE 2011 Ralph B. Peck Award, the 2012 National Award for Significant Contributions in Science and Technology - SENACYT Panama, and the 2012 ARMA Research Award. In 2016, he was elected Fellow of the American Rock Mechanics Association.