Off Planet Research
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Simulants

Information about our Simulants

We produce simulated extraterrestrial materials such as lunar regolith and lunar ice so that research and testing can be performed either in our labs or at our client’s facilities.  We take great care in assuring that our simulants are the best available.

In this picture you can see two of the primary feedstocks we use for some of our simulants; basaltic cinder from the San Francisco formation in Arizona (left) and Shawmere anorthosite (right).

In this picture you can see two of the primary feedstocks we use for some of our simulants; basaltic cinder from the San Francisco formation in Arizona (left) and Shawmere anorthosite (right).

About Our Lunar Regolith Simulants:

Lunar regolith varies depending on where it is found on the Moon.  There are two general types, Mare and Highland regoliths, as well as materials unique to certain specific locations on the Moon.  Each type of regolith is composed of a mixture of components and these specific mixtures also vary depending on location.  What is unique about our simulants is that we produce each component separately and then build up specific simulants according to our client’s needs.  This way we can emulate the anticipated regolith at a client’s proposed landing site so the testing they conduct for their mission will be more meaningful and their mission will have a greater chance of success.

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This is a representative photo showing the types of particles in our lunar regolith simulants.

All of the particles in this photo are simulated lunar particles manufactured in our labs. They are mechanically very close to the real thing.

1-Glass spherule, 2-Crushed anorthosite, 3-Breccia, 4-Agglutinate, 5-Crushed glass, 6-Crushed basalt

Many organizations that we talk with plan to send missions to several locations, do not have a specific landing sight selected, or want to test their technologies for general conditions on the Moon.  We produce large quantities of standard representative regolith simulants for these clients and for use in our large Lunar Surface Simulation Lab.  These “standard” simulants are our Mare (OPRL2) and Highland (OPRH2) simulants which are based on average samples of appropriate regolith types gathered during the Apollo Missions.  

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The Mare regions of the Moon are the dark patches and are mostly composed of basaltic regolith. The lighter areas of the Moon are the Highlands where the regolith is mostly composed of anorthosite. Highlands make up about 80% of the surface of the Moon. There are other components in these regoliths which we simulate as well, which is one of the reasons that our simulants are such high quality

About Our Lunar Ice Simulant:

We have created a lunar ice simulant called OPRFLCROSS2 which simulates lunar ice based on the results of the LCROSS impact mission. We are conducting ongoing experiments using OPRFLCROSS2, learning how to collect and process this ice into rocket fuel, breathable oxygen, drinkable water, and other critical supplies. This is vital to a sustainable presence in space.  Please check back to see our progress.

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Simulant Designations

We use specific designators for our all of simulants so that they can be better controlled and referenced internally, by our clients and partners, and in publications. To the left is an example of how our designators are set up.

Quality Control:

We are very serious about quality control and consistency of our simulants.  We own and maintain all of our purpose-built equipment.  We obtain all of our feedstocks from recognized, dependable sources and we maintain the mineralogical or chemical reports and control samples for all of our stocks.  We carefully control all of our production methods at every stage and maintain control samples of every batch of regolith simulant that we make so we can compare each batch to their predecessors and assure consistency of all of our simulants.  This allows us to produce the same product now and ten years from now.