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Production of Mature Highland Lunar Regolith Simulant

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Production of Mature Highland Lunar Regolith Simulant
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CH51P
Award Amount: $100,000.00


As NASA considers manned and/or unmanned return missions to the Moon and beyond, it is imperative that high fidelity lunar soil simulants be developed in order to accurately evaluate the life span and efficiency of any equipment exposed to the lunar surface. One of the significant limitations of current simulants is the lack of certain constituents, such as agglutinates. These constituents, which can account for up to 60% by volume of a mature regolith soil, are widely regarded as components that must be present in any high fidelity simulant. Recently, Plasma Processes, Inc. has developed a process to produce Mare agglutinate simulant particles from JSC-1A feedstock. Characterization has confirmed that these agglutinate simulants have features (e.g. morphology, chemistry, crystalline phase content, nano-phase Fe) similar to actual lunar agglutinates. When mixed with the JSC-1A root simulant in the correct proportions, the combination results in a high fidelity derivative Mare simulant. However, considering approximately 87% of the lunar surface consists of Highland regolith composition, mature Highland simulants are also of great interest. Hence, the primary technical objective of the proposed Phase I effort is to extend the technology employed to enhance the fidelity of Mare simulants to the production of high fidelity derivative Highland simulants.

Principal Investigator:

Daniel Butts
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Timothy N. McKechnie
Small Business Information at Submission:

Plasma Processes, LLC.
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL -

EIN/Tax ID: 273812665
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No