Specialist Node > Civil Engineering in Space

Our research, led by Professor Arcady Dyskin, aims to develop new methods of mortarless construction and mining extraction that are suitable for the low gravity and harsh environment found on extraterrestrial bodies. The team also investigate methods for deflecting those bodies that are on a collision course with Earth.

We will need to use extraterrestrial bodies and planets to host research and launching facilities, to extract and process local or rare resources unavailable on Earth, as well as hosting production facilities that are unsafe for the terrestrial environment. Economic exploitation of extraterrestrial bodies requires developing new, flexible construction and mining methods capable of utilising local materials and suitable for low (micro) gravity conditions and harsh environments. These novel construction and drilling methods will also be necessary for installing engines on bodies that may collide with Earth, so they can be deflected.

We focus on:

  • Topological interlocking (TI) – a form of mortarless construction based on special assemblies of blocks of simple shapes (Platonic solids) or specially engineered shapes (Osteomorphic blocks) that do not require special keys or connectors.
  • Thermal spallation – a method of rock drilling/cutting based on heating the rock surface to temperatures below its melting point.
  • Investigating the growth mechanics of multiple interacting fractures under different types of static and cyclic loading, necessary to monitor and predict the emergence of large-scale fractures detrimental to human activities on extraterrestrial bodies.