Off Planet Research
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Labs

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Concept image of the Lunar Surface Simulation Lab used during its design phase.  The lab is currently available for use while its construction is completed.

Lunar Lab and Facility rentals

Off Planet Research (OPR) is currently in the process of building an indoor, climate-controlled Lunar Surface Simulation (LSS) Lab that will use their Highland simulant for lunar research. OPR’s lab is available to lunar researchers seeking to test their equipment in high quality simulant. An experimental facility of this kind is important because it is the only way to improve the cost of lunar missions and assure their success.

Features of the Lab

Location: The LSS Lab is currently located in Lacey, Washington, USA.

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This image shows a close-up view of the OPRH2N highland regolith simulant that is being placed into the Lunar Surface Simulation Lab.  When complete, the lab will hold over 30 tons of simulant.

Dimensions in US Customary Units: The LSS Lab is approximately 29 feet wide and 24 feet deep for a total of 692 square feet of floor space taking into account a small structural pole in the center. The total ceiling height ranges from 8 feet to 12 feet although the available height will vary depending upon the various depths of the simulant.

Dimensions in SI Units: The LSS Lab is approximately 7.32 meters wide by 8.84 meters deep for a total of 64.29 square meters of floor space taking into account a small structural pole in the center. The total ceiling height ranges from 2.44 meters to 3.66 meters although the available height will vary depending upon the various depths of the simulant.

Simulant: The LSS Lab will be filled with approximately 30 metric tons of Highland simulant OPRH2N.

Topography: The depth of simulant and general topography will vary, and can be customized to match a client’s potential landing site. 

There is a control area besides the LSS Lab with 160 square feet (14.86 square meters) of clear viewing space into the chamber. The control area itself is approximately 279 square feet (25.92 square meters). There is a secondary viewing space of 16 square feet (1.49 square meters) on the rear side of the chamber.

Upon entry into the control area, all technology will undergo two stages of cleaning to remove all contamination before entering the LSS Lab. It will go through the same process when exiting the LSS Lab to ensure all dust has been removed and will not pose a health risk to researchers.

The entrances to the LSS Lab have the capacity to fit technology up to the size of a small golf cart.

The 9-foot wide door (2.74 meters) into the LSS Lab will test various types of seals 24/7 with intent to create a list of OPR-tested seals. Please use the Contact Us page or email contact@offplanetresearch.com if you would like a particular seal tested.

The flooring system of the LSS Lab is raised to allow for air to circulate around the chamber and help decrease the humidity and moisture level.

There is the option for video capabilities so testing can be done either partially or completely remotely.

There is the potential for on-site manufacturing lab space.

Current Status of the Lab

While not fully complete, the lab is open for use to smaller technology at this time. Please use the Contact Us page or email contact@offplanetresearch.com to inquire about using the lab, the current volume of simulant in the chamber, or the exact features available.

Future Plans

In the near future, OPR is looking to move into a larger space that will accommodate additional features including, but not limited to:

  • A larger Highland simulant chamber
  • A Mare simulant chamber
  • A mini chamber designed for smaller technology, custom simulant, and additional environmental controls
  • Reduced gravity equipment for the chambers
  • Even lower levels of humidity for the chambers
  • Exclusive workspace or office space for clients