Mechanics of Granular Materials

Microgravity experiment to understand Earth materials

The Mechanics of Granular Materials (MGM) project studied how cohesionless granular materials, like sand, deform under pressure. The microgravity environment of the space shuttle provided a laboratory for testing these materials under low-stress conditions, and may help us better understand how to work with sand and soil on Earth and, one day, on the Moon.

Mission Class:


Mission Status:


LASP Roles:

Lead Institute

Science Target:

Earth's Surface

Mission Focus:

Earth Materials

Launch Date: September 16th, 1996 (MGMI); January 22nd, 1998 (MGMII); January 16th, 2003 (MGMIII)
Prime mission: 3 separate flights over 6 years

Lead Institutions: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and LASP

Partners: Louisiana State University-Southern University