Altshuler E, Torres H, González-Pita A, Sánchez-Colina G, Pérez-Penichet C, Waitukaitis S, et al. Settling into dry granular media in different gravities. Geophys Res Lett 2014;41(9):3032-3037
While the penetration of objects into granular media is well-studied, there is little understanding of how objects settle in gravities, geff, different from that of Earth—a scenario potentially relevant to the geomorphology of planets and asteroids and also to their exploration using man-made devices. By conducting experiments in an accelerating frame, we explore geff ranging from 0.4 g to 1.2 g. Surprisingly, we find that the rest depth is independent of geff and also that the time required for the object to come to rest scales like inline image. With discrete element modeling simulations, we reproduce the experimental results and extend the range of geff to objects as small as asteroids and as large as Jupiter. Our results shed light on the initial stage of sedimentation into dry granular media across a range of celestial bodies and also have implications for the design of man-made, extraterrestrial vehicles and structures.