Development of a Martian regolith simulant for in-situ resource utilization testing

Research paper by A.N. Scott, C. Oze, Y. Tang, A. O’Loughlin

Indexed on: 21 Nov '16Published on: 17 Nov '16Published in: Acta Astronautica


Long-term human habitation of Mars will require in situ resources for construction and infrastructure development. In order to determine how to utilize in situ resources, such as Martian regolith, these materials need to be synthesized on Earth for testing and development. Here we address the process of synthesizing a targeted Martian simulant (i.e., Gusev Crater regolith near the Columbia Hills region on Mars) in sufficient quantities required for infrastructure development studies using volcanic material obtained from Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. Martian simulant produced via crushing, sieving, washing and blending of basalts and volcanic glass resulted in accurately reproducing material similar in particle size, chemistry and mineralogy to Gusev Crater regolith. Overall, our applied approach to synthesizing Martian regolith will aid in creating suitable quantities of material that can be used for a variety of research applications such as assessing aggregates for use in the production of construction materials.

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