NU-LHT lunar simulant
Zybek Advanced Products (ZAP)
Boulder, CO
888-469-0110
www.zybekap.com

Lunar simulants are a critical aspect of the return to the Moon and a planned lunar outpost. All mechanical equipment, chemical processes, and human health studies will be tested extensively with simulants prior to deployment. Zybek Advanced Products’ NU-LHT (NASA-USGS — Lunar Highlands Type) simulant is used by NASA to represent the lunar highlands area, and contains a complex mixture of glass, agglutinate, jagged particulates, synthetic minerals, and natural minerals from select terrestrial sources. While glass and crystal structures exist terrestrially, the agglutinate structure is not available on Earth.

Agglutinates exist partially because there is no weathering on the Moon. The Moon is under constant bombardment from micrometeorites, and those meteoric collisions transfer intense thermal and kinetic energy onto the lunar surface. The thermal history produced by the impact’s intense heat immediately followed by extreme cold is replicated with ZAP’s specialized agglutinate reactor.

ZAP’s plasma process provides an extremely high-temperature source that melts mineral material. The plasma concentrates 1 Megawatt of energy in the size of a basketball. The lunar structures are formed by reproducing the energy density, temperature, and subsequent thermal gradient as on the Moon.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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