Deep Space Industries recently delivered 3.5 gallons of dirt to NASA. But this wasn’t ordinary dirt; it was developed to simulate the material found on an asteroid or moon.
“The crushed rock found on celestial bodies is called regolith and we can make regolith simulants by using a special recipe of minerals mined on Earth,” said Rob Mueller, a senior technologist with Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “This will help researchers perform experiments and conduct equipment testing for potential mining of useful resources in space. Private industry is helping NASA in this effort.”
Deep Space Industries (DSI) proposed the development of an asteroid simulant in their response to NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program 2015 solicitation. As part of its plan, the company developed a range of asteroid simulants for government and commercial use, and its recent delivery to Kennedy Space Center marks the first batch ready for use by researchers across the nation.