If you are going to the Moon or other destinations in the solar system, we want you to succeed. The only way to truly understand how unique and difficult it is to work with lunar regolith is to actually do it, or work with an excellent simulant. We work in and around it every day, all day, as we make simulants and conduct our own testing and design.
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Anyone attempting to design equipment or processes that will interact with regolith needs to first recognize that this material will surprise you at every turn, and it is even worse when regolith gets where it is not supposed to be.
Our first surprise was when we decided that we would build our lunar surface simulation lab and fill it with simulant, then start testing technology bound for the moon. As we worked to dial-in our equipment and processes to make our simulant, we found that the closer we got to our goal, the more frustrated we became as our equipment broke down, wore out, or seized up. Threaded fasteners snapped off when we tried to turn them, even sample jars became stuck solid closed. It took us several days to realize that our learning curve had already started with a vengeance, long before we planned. We needed to begin the re-design and testing of fasteners, joints, seals and everything else that our simulants touched before we were ready, and it was one of the most valuable experiences we have.
This lesson and the many that follow, combined with decades of experience working in aerospace are what we can bring to any effort to design and test systems for living and working on the moon.