Curious about how Off Planet Research came to be? Keep on reading to find out!
After returning to college to complete his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Vince was considering what would be involved in sending a lunar rover to the Moon, He discovered there was a lack of available simulants and lab facilities. He began preliminary experiments in his home to see how difficult it would be to produce lunar simulant and discovered that it was challenging but not impossible. He believed it could be done on a large scale with sufficient research and development. Later Vince founded Off Planet Research and transferred to Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA with the intent to bring the project with him.
Vince teamed up with Melissa and Jamie and selected the Process for Producing Lunar Highland Regolith Simulant as their senior design project for the following year. The first shipment of anorthosite arrived at Saint Martin’s over the summer
Finishing Their Degrees and Early Research
The team began research into replicating the natural formation processes of lunar regolith. They successfully developed basic methods for making the various components within simulants.
The team refined their equipment and methods and the first samples of Highland simulant are produced to meet their senior design goals. After graduation, Jamie moved to Hawaii and Melissa joined Off Planet Research as a co-owner and lead researcher.
Growing the Business
Vince and Melissa along with two interns began construction of the world’s largest climate-controlled Lunar Surface Simulation Lab, currently co-located at Saint Martin’s University. Sized-up equipment was designed and built to produce simulants in large quantities. Initial discussions began with several groups intending to send missions to the Moon.
Late 2017 to Present
The first shipment of basalt arrived at Saint Martin’s. The large Lunar Surface Simulation Lab nears completion with its projected opening in 2018. Work begins on testing and development of Moon-adapted components for inclusion on future lunar missions and discussions mature with groups planning lunar missions in the near future.
A year of Growth and Opportunity
Early 2018 brought with it a great opportunity to collaborate with JPB Systems to test their components for the extreme temperatures of space. It also came with a foray into experiments into ice extraction in permeated simulant. We also received our first official order from ESA for testing and certification.
Stay tuned! New and exciting news are in our future.