Browse Our Regolith Simulants

Browse Simulants 

What Is Simulated

Simulants made from natural terrestrial materials will never be perfect copies of extraterrestrial regoliths. Depending on your application you may need a lower or higher fidelity simulant, and may wish to modify our products further to meet your specific needs. Below is a basic guide to which properties are well emulated in our materials, and which are not.

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Well-Simulated Properties

MineralogyOur simulants are high-fidelity materials that accurately capture the major modal mineralogy of the reference materials, including both crystalline and amorphous phases.

Bulk ChemistryThe bulk major element chemistry of our simulants is generally accurate, except for excesses in Mg, Na and K, and deficiencies in Fe and Ca due to the crystal chemistry of terrestrial minerals.

Particle Size DistributionFor lunar simulants there are good controls from returned samples and we target these distributions. For martian and asteroid simulants we use a natural power law distribution from crushing, with a reasonable maximum particle size.

Volatile ReleaseWe have measured the evolved gases from the simulants during heating, and the martian and asteroid simulants accurately capture the total amount of water released compared to the reference materials. Lunar simulants are notionally dry.

Derivative PropertiesMany properties such as reflectance spectra and magnetic susceptibility are mainly a product of the modal mineralogy. Our simulants should perform well in these properties, although we do not specifically target them.

Limitations

Particle Shape We make no effort to control the particle shapes in the simulants. Most of our processing involves rapid percussive crushing instead of gentle abrasion, so Exolith particle particle shapes are angular rather than smooth or rounded, however, the particle shapes may still not be angular enough for some lunar regolith simulant applications.

Oxidation and Weathering Because our simulants are made from terrestrially-sourced minerals, they contain more ferric iron than is likely present on the Moon and are affected by minor amounts of terrestrial weathering. We do not presently simulate nanophase iron, which is generated on the Moon by space weathering.

Trace Elements and Isotopes We do not actively simulate trace elements, REEs, or isotopes in the simulants.

Hazardous Components Exolith Lab simulants are made to be as safe as possible, and we make substitutions for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), asbestiform serpentine, and pyrrhotite/troilite in the asteroid simulants; We do not include perchlorates or other superoxide species in the martian simulants.

Reactivity Extraterrestrial regolith samples may rapidly react or change if exposed to a humid, oxygen-rich atmosphere. Because we synthesize the simulants on Earth, they are already equilibrated with the terrestrial atmosphere, and adsorb minor amounts of water vapor in humid conditions.