Simulant Database

Simulants

Name: MGS-1 Mars Global Simulant

Team photo

Mars Global Simulant (MGS-1) is a mineralogical standard for basaltic soils on Mars, developed based on quantitative mineralogy from the MSL Curiosity rover. It is designed to replicate the Rocknest windblown soil, that is chemically similar to other basaltic soils at disparate landing sites and thus constitutes a “global” basaltic soil composition. MGS-1 is made by sourcing individual minerals, including a proper treatment of the X-ray amorphous component. This is in contrast to previous Mars simulants that were usually sourced from a single terrestrial deposit (basalt or palagonite).

Modified versions include MGS-1S Sulfate ISRU and MGS-1C Clay ISRU, specifically designed for water extraction applications. The root MGS-1 simulant is appropriate to test water extraction from bulk regolith.

The mineral recipe and production methods are available for anyone to reproduce and modify MGS-1 based simulants as they see fit. We are distributing MGS-1 through the CLASS Exolith Lab.

Mineralogy

Mineral Wt.%
Plagioclase 27.1
Glass-rich basalt 22.9
Pyroxene 20.3
Olivine 13.7
Mg-sulfate 4.0
Ferrihydrite 3.5
Hydrated silica 3.0
Magnetite 1.9
Anhydrite 1.7
Fe-carbonate 1.4
Hematite 0.5

Bulk Chemistry

Oxide Wt%
SiO2 45.2
TiO2 0.4
Al2O3 14.9
Cr2O3 0.2
Fe2O3 18.7
NiO 0.2
MnO 0.1
MgO 7.6
CaO 10
K2O 0.6
P2O5 0.9
SO3 0.9
Cl 0.4
SrO 0.1
Total 100

Physical Properties

Particle size range: <0.04 – 600 μm
Mean particle size (by volume): 90 μm
Bulk density*: 1.29 g/cm3
*Note that bulk density is not an inherent property and depends on the level of compaction

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: MGS-1S Sulfate ISRU

MGS-1S is a modified version of the root MGS-1 simulant, and is enriched in the polyhydrated sulfate gypsum. This represents the Reference Case “B” in the NASA Mars Water In-Situ Resource Utilization Study.

MGS-1S is specifically designed for ISRU water extraction studies; the M-WIP study concluded that polyhydrated sulfate deposits represent a clear advantage over bulk regolith or clay-bearing deposits in terms of mass and power, and may be much easier to access and excavate than permafrost deposits.

Physical Properties

Particle size range: 0-1 mm
Mean particle size (by volume): 119 μm

 Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: MGS-1C Clay ISRU

MGS-1C is a modified version of the root MGS-1 simulant, and is enriched in hydrated clay minerals (smectite). This represents the Reference Case “C” in the NASA Mars Water In-Situ Resource Utilization Study.

MGS-1C is specifically designed for ISRU water extraction studies; the M-WIP study concluded that hydrated clay deposits are advantageous for water extraction on Mars, and may be much easier to access and excavate than permafrost deposits.

Physical Properties

Particle size range: 0-1 mm
Mean particle size (by volume): 24 μm

 

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: JEZ-1 Jezero Delta Simulant

The Jezero Delta Simulant (JEZ-1) was made to simulate anticipated materials in the Jezero Crater deltas that will be investigated by the NASA Mars 2020 rover. The simulant is a mixture of MGS-1 mineralogy with smectite clay, Mg-carbonate, and additional olivine that have all been detected from orbital remote sensing in the Jezero delta deposits.

The state of lithificaiton, mineralogy, and grain size distribution are likely variable throughout the Jezero deltas; JEZ-1 represents unconsolidated material, but can be compacted under various pressures to form a more cohesive solid.

Physical Properties

Particle size range: <0.04 – 500 μm
Mean particle size (by volume): 70 μm
Bulk density*: 1.54 g/cm3
*Note that bulk density is not an inherent property and depends on the level of compaction

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: LMS-1 Lunar Mare Simulant

The LMS-1 Lunar Mare Simulant has been developed by the CLASS Exolith Lab. It is a high-fidelity, mineral-based simulant appropriate for a generic or average mare location on the Moon. The simulant is not made of a single terrestrial lithology, but accurately captures the texture of lunar regolith by combining both mineral and rock fragments (i.e., polymineralic grains) in accurate proportions.

The particle size distribution of the simulant is targeted to match that of typical Apollo soils. LMS-1 does not currently simulate agglutinates or nanophase iron.

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: LHS-1 Lunar Highlands Simulant

The LHS-1 Lunar Highlands Simulant has been developed by the CLASS Exolith Lab. It is a high-fidelity, mineral-based simulant appropriate for a generic or average highlands location on the Moon. The simulant is not made of a single terrestrial lithology, but accurately captures the texture of lunar regolith by combining both mineral and rock fragments (i.e., polymineralic grains) in accurate proportions.

The particle size distribution of the simulant is targeted to match that of typical Apollo soils. LHS-1 does not currently simulate agglutinates or nanophase iron.  However, our agglutinated simulant, LHS-1-25A, does simulate agglutinates characteristic of an intermediately mature Lunar Highlands Regolith. Custom simulated agglutinate mixes are also available upon request.

Physical Properties

Mean Particle Size: 60 µm
Median Particle Size: 50 µm
Particle Size Range: <0.04 µm – 400 µm
Bulk density*: 1.30 g/cm3
*Note that bulk density is not an inherent property and depends on the level of compaction

 

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: CI Carbonaceous Chondrite Simulant

The UCF/DSI CI Carbonaceous Chondrite Simulant (also known as UCF/DSI-CI-2) is a general purpose asteroid regolith simulant based on the Orgueil CI carbonaceous chondrite. The mineralogy is based on the analysis by Bland et al. 2004.

To produce the simulant, individual mineral components are sourced and prepared, then mixed together with water to physically bind them. The resulting mixture is dried to remove the water, then mechanically ground in a rock crusher to achieve the desired particle size distribution.

The simulant was produced as part of a NASA SBIR grant to create realistic asteroid simulants, and is currently available from the CLASS Exolith Lab.

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: LHS-1D Lunar Highland Dust Simulant

The LHS-1D Lunar Highlands Dust Simulant has been developed by the CLASS Exolith Lab for use in dust mitigation experiments and other applications where very fine dust is needed. LHS-1D is made of the same base material as LHS-1, our high-fidelity, mineral-based simulant appropriate for a generic or average highlands location on the Moon. The simulant is not made of a single terrestrial lithology, but accurately captures the texture of lunar regolith by combining both mineral and rock fragments (i.e., polymineralic grains) in accurate proportions. This dust simulant contains only particles finer than 30 μm.

Physical Properties

Particle size range: 0-30 μm
Mean particle size (by volume): 7 μm
Bulk density*: 0.70 g/cm3
*Note that bulk density is not an inherent property and depends on the level of compaction

Photo Credit: Matthew Villegas, Exolith Lab

Name: LMS-1D Lunar Mare Dust Simulant

The LMS-1D Lunar Mare Dust Simulant has been developed by the CLASS Exolith Lab for dust mitigation experiments and other applications where very fine dust is needed. LMS-1D is made of the same base material as LMS-1, our high-fidelity, mineral-based simulant appropriate for a generic or average mare location on the Moon. The simulant is not made of a single terrestrial lithology, but accurately captures the texture of lunar regolith by combining both mineral and rock fragments (i.e., polymineralic grains) in accurate proportions. This dust simulant contains only particles finer than 30 μm.

Physical Properties

Particle size range: 0-30 μm
Mean particle size (by volume): 7 μm
Bulk density*: 0.70 g/cm3
*Note that bulk density is not an inherent property and depends on the level of compaction

Photo Credit: Emma Torregrosa, Exolith Lab

Name: LHS-1-25A Lunar Highlands Agglutinated Simulant

The LHS-1-25A Lunar Highlands 25% Agglutinated Simulant has been developed by the CLASS Exolith Lab. It is a high-fidelity, mineral-based simulant appropriate for a generic or average highlands location on the Moon with an intermediate regolith maturity. The simulant consists of 75% LHS-1 Lunar Highlands Simulant and 25%  Anorthosite Agglutinates, by weight. The addition of agglutinates increases fidelity of LHS-1 in terms of glass composition, magnetic properties, and mechanical properties.

Photo Credit: Emma Torregrosa, Exolith Lab

Name: Anorthosite Agglutinates

The agglutinates are made up of 99% Anorthosite and 1% Iron. They simulate the glassy and magnetic properties of Lunar agglutinates.

Crushed agglutinates are sold in 10 gram increments. Exolith Lab is also able to make simulants containing agglutinated Anorthosite. If you are interested in a simulant made with agglutinated anorthosite, please email us at exolithlab@ucf.edu.