Production of Mature Highland Lunar Regolith Simulant
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811-1558
AbstractAs 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.
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