Off Planet Research
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List of Simulants and Feedstocks

list of simulants and feedstocks

 

Feedstocks  For Our Lunar Regolith Simulants

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Material:  Archean Anorthosite

Source:  Shawmere Anorthosite Complex, Foleyet, Ontario, Canada

This rare material is mineralogically similar to lunar anorthosite.  The Shawmere formation has been the preferred source of feedstock to make other Highland simulants in the past because anorthosites from this formation are largely un-altered from their original state.

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Material:  Basaltic Cinder

Source:  San Francisco Formation in Arizona, USA

The source for this feedstock is the same source used for JSC-1 due to its mineralogical similarity to low-titanium basalt regoliths found in the Mare regions on the Moon.  This cinder has a high glass content which helps simulate basaltic regolith.

Lunar Regolith Simulants

Below is a list of our standard or pre-existing lunar regolith simulants; we can make simulants to approximate the regolith anywhere on the moon according to currently available information.  Note:  All “Group 1” simulants are developmental or for OPR use only and not available for rent. They are not listed below.

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Designation:  OPRH2N

Name:  Off Planet Research, Highland, Group 2, Non-Agglutinate

This is a general representative Highland regolith simulant for the near (Earth-facing) side of the Moon.  It is modeled after the average samples of Highland regolith gathered during the Apollo 17 mission.  It is two-thirds anorthosite and one-third basaltic cinder with trace amounts of glass spherules and does not include agglutinates.

The cohesion, particle size distribution, and geotechnical and terramechanical properties of this simulant are good approximations for near side Highland lunar regolith, making this an excellent choice for testing on a full-scale systems.  Because this simulant does not include agglutinates, it is less expensive for these types of testing.

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Designation:  OPRH2W

Name:  Off Planet Research, Highland, Group 2, With Agglutinates

This is our OPRH2N simulant with agglutinates, it has the same mineralogical proportions as the non-agglutinate simulant (OPRH2N) but contains agglutinates.  The Image to the left is one of our simulated Highland agglutinates.

While our non-agglutinate simulants are appropriate choices for certain kinds of large-scale testing, the unique morphology and properties of agglutinates have important influences on how well simulants emulate the flow of regolith through equipment, damage seals, and interact with the surface of equipment.  For low-mass rovers, agglutinates can affect the interaction of the rover with the surface it is traversing.

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Designation:  OPRL2N

Name:  Off Planet Research, Mare, Group 2, Non-Agglutinate

Description:  This is a general representative Mare regolith simulant modeled after the average samples of Mare regolith gathered during the Apollo missions.  It is 90% basaltic cinder and 10% anorthosite with trace amounts of glass spherules and does not include agglutinates.

The cohesion, particle size distribution, and geotechnical and terramechanical properties of this simulant are good approximations for Mare lunar regolith, making this an excellent choice for testing on full-scale systems.  Because this simulant does not include agglutinates it is less expensive for these types of testing.

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Designation:  OPRL2W

Name:  Off Planet Research, Mare, Group 2, With Agglutinates

This is our OPRL2 simulant with agglutinates.  The image to the left shows some of our simulated Mare agglutinates.

While our non-agglutinate simulants are appropriate choices for certain kinds of large-scale testing, the unique morphology and properties of agglutinates have important influences on how well simulants emulate the flow of regolith through equipment, damage seals, and interact with the surface of equipment.  For low-mass rovers, agglutinates can affect the interaction of the rover with the surface it is traversing.

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Designation:  OPRXXX-Agglutinates

Name:  Off Planet Research, Kind of Simulant, Agglutinates

The agglutinate component of lunar regolith is critical for certain types of testing.  Our agglutinates are special because they are mechanically very similar to actual lunar agglutinates as can be seen in the image below, the same cannot be said for other simulants.  For more information on agglutinates and why they are so important, please follow the link “Information about our agglutinates”.  Agglutinates are formed by micro-meteor impacts into the lunar regolith, so they are formed from the material in which they are found.  The agglutinates included in our simulants are formed from their base simulant to better approximate the real thing.  (XXX is the base simulant the agglutinates are made from)

Agglutinates are difficult and expensive to manufacture and their unique characteristics make it necessary to use them in certain kinds of testing.

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Designation:  OPRFLCROSS1

Name:  Off Planet Research, Ice, LCROSS

Data Sheet for OPRFLCROSS1

The last action of the LCROSS mission was to crash a Centaur upper stage rocket into a crater at the south pole of the Moon where indications of water ice had been observed.  The impact kicked up a large cloud that contained lunar regolith and water ice with other volatiles including methane, carbon dioxide, ethane, and other chemicals.

Simulating this ice mixture is challenging but it is important to understand how the presence of this ice will change the mechanical characteristics of the regolith, and how this valuable resource can be extracted and processed.