Friday, May 29, 2009

The Search for Lunar Regolith Simulants

CoreCast #97 Marisa Lubeck -- How the U. S. Geological Servey is creating artificial moon regolith, assisting NASA with planning future lunar exploration. (Transcript is also available)

With what is sounding like a real breakthrough in the search for a useful and realistic "simulant" to recreate the dusty lunar surface earlier this week, perhaps it's time to review this nagging problem once again.

The breakthrough

Earlier this year NASA was given its highest mid-term grades in the keeping up with the science preparations ahead of "extended human activity on the Moon, for its effort, but not for its progress in with the sticky problems in the path back to the Moon: lunar dust.

The biggest problem has been developing simulated dust like none found anywhere on Earth, silicate "ground exceedingly fine" by the same processed reworking the outer centemeters of the lunar surface every 10 million years or so. So far, the best available is a good proxy, aside from the slow process needed to come close to fixing nanophase iron, and the electro-static properties than may make lunar dust most of the Moon's atmosphere, levitating micro-fine particles in a wave that may continuous follow the sunset.

Today the U.S Geological Service, released a flash video discussing the situation, and their role, linked above.

You can read about the breakthrough HERE.

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