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  ORBITEC: Martian soil simulant for sale

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Author Topic:   ORBITEC: Martian soil simulant for sale
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-26-2007 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ORBITEC release
Get Hands-on with Another Planet: Martian Soil Simulant Now Available

As NASA engineers and astronauts prepare to explore the moon and Mars, they first need to practice on Earth. One of the best tools they can use is materials to simulate the soil, or regolith, they will land on. For the first time, lunar and Martian simulants are now also available to the public.

As NASA engineers and astronauts prepare to explore the moon and Mars, they first need to practice on Earth. One of the best tools they can use is materials to simulate the soil, or regolith, they will land on.

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) has been working with NASA since 2005 on the development of improved lunar and Martian soil simulants. This year alone they have delivered over 45,000 pounds of lunar regolith simulant, known as JSC-1A, and Martian soil simulant, known as JSC-Mars-1A, to engineers and scientists studying mining equipment, robotic vehicles, next generation space suits, habitats, plant growth and dust mitigation.

Along the way, they have also been contacted by over 100 students, teachers, librarians and toy developers that want a sample of fake moon and Mars dirt as well.

"These simulants are really a great way to get a feel for another planet," said Marty Gustafson, ORBITEC's project manager for lunar and Martian simulant production. "Kids tend to be fascinated by them, asking question after question about life in space. It really brings science to a new level when they can hold it in their hand."

Because the demand for simulants has been so high, ORBITEC helped produce extra material for sale to the general public. There are currently five tons of Martian simulant for sale at www.planet-llc.com, and lunar simulant will be for sale by January.

In addition to simulants, ORBITEC has developed the Astro Garden, one of NASA's Education Payloads that went into space with Astronaut Barbara Morgan on Space Shuttle Endeavour on August 8. Built as a miniature garden for growing flowers, herbs and small vegetables in orbit with minimal resources, the Astro Garden's ground version, or "Space Garden" will be used as part of NASA's national engineering design challenge for students in grades K-12 throughout the school year. Using their own growth chambers, students will conduct science experiments with basil seeds flown in space and now available for schools. More information about Space Gardens is available on their website.

Both the Space Garden and Astro Garden are a continuation of ORBITEC's work with controlled environments. The company's Biomass Production System spent 73 days in orbit on the International Space Station in 2002.

Headquartered in Madison, ORBITEC is Wisconsin's aerospace research and product development leader, proving strong in the use of the Small Business Innovative Research Program as a catalyst for technology and product development.

ORBITEC has been awarded over 180 government contracts exceeding a total of over $125M. Most of ORBITEC's current activities and revenue base are technology developments and implementations that have evolved from the SBIR program. ORBITEC was awarded Wisconsin's Professional Service Business of the Year (1995), and the Tibbitts Award (1996 and 1999) from the Small Business Administration for outstanding work for the U.S. Government.

ORBITEC's sister company, PLANET LLC, provides an outlet to commercial markets for ORBITEC's advanced space technologies. In return, PLANET's products have had continuous access to ORBITEC's experienced research team to support future developments and improvements. Current products include LED lighting systems for controlled environments, the Space Garden educational plant growth chamber, Hypercosm web-based 3D software and lunar and Martian regolith simulant.

slk6517
Member

Posts: 27
From: sheboygan, WI. USA
Registered: Dec 2006

posted 11-09-2007 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for slk6517   Click Here to Email slk6517     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed that the lunar material shows as sold out or out of stock?

It was my understanding that this would first be offered in January? I'd like to acquire some of this material, can anyone shed any light on this?

Guess I should just find out what part of my state they're in, and take a drive to their office.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-09-2007 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Orbitec, the lunar simulant is expected to be available in January 2008. You'll need to wait a few months more.

Philip
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Posts: 5039
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 11-10-2007 05:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't have a clue what this would cost but it could be nice to use it in a lunar or Martian diorama and put your scale models into it.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-10-2007 06:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have several pounds of the lunar simulant. I have one recommendation. Do not open the bag!

Once it gets out, it spreads by clinging to any surface it touches. The next thing you know is that you are covered in the stuff.

music_space
Member

Posts: 1075
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 11-10-2007 06:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry: Then, it really provides you with a lunar surface experience!

slk6517
Member

Posts: 27
From: sheboygan, WI. USA
Registered: Dec 2006

posted 11-10-2007 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for slk6517   Click Here to Email slk6517     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
I have several pounds of the lunar simulant. I have one recommendation. Do not open the bag!
Larry, I was very surprised to hear of this material's properties, as clinging on to everything. Do you have the fine material or the more course grain material?

My next inquiry would be how did you acquire it before its noted release date of January?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-10-2007 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by slk6517:
My next inquiry would be how did you acquire it before its noted release date of January?
Lunar simulant has been available in the past from other companies (and directly from JSC). The January date only applies to Orbitec's supply.

Orbitec's release only claimed a first for the public sale of Martian simulant.

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-10-2007 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought the simulant from Orbitec last year. They have been selling the lunar simulant for a while now. The material comes in Ziploc bags with a big label on it that says JSC-1AF. It is very fine grain (almost like Talcum powder).

You used to be able to buy it in a small sample size as well as 5kg and 25kg bulk sizes. I purchased a 5kg (10 pound) sample. It arrive in four large Ziploc bags. I used some of it in a LRL equipment display.

It can get very messy.

slk6517
Member

Posts: 27
From: sheboygan, WI. USA
Registered: Dec 2006

posted 11-12-2007 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for slk6517   Click Here to Email slk6517     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One other question, can you offer any advice as to what size to get in either lunar or martian simulant, the fine or the more coarse grain, I was thinking that the more coarse grain might be more easy to manage if its outside of the bag?

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-12-2007 06:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although Orbitec listed the course grain material on their website, they have had none in stock.

Apollo14LMP
Member

Posts: 251
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-04-2013 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo14LMP   Click Here to Email Apollo14LMP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if this company still offer a lunar simulant? Can't see it on their website.

Can anyone guide me to a supplier who does offer simulated lunar soil (modelling diorama usage). Thank you.

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