Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has received a patent for its method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant. The simulant is made in bulk from similar rock samples identified and picked out from Sittampundi Anorthosite Complex, almost 67 km from Salem, in Tamil Nadu.
The procedure has satisfied all aspects such as mineralogy, bulk chemistry, grain size distribution and geo-mechanical properties. The method used for preparing the lunar simulant is cost-effective, reproducible and easy to scale up, said the patent specification filed by the Space Agency.
The simulant is quite similar to the regolith (loose unconsolidated rock and dust that sits atop a layer of bedrock according to Encyclopaedia Britannica) of lunar highland region. It can be used to control the mobility of the rover for scientific exploration and for the study of geo-technical or mechanical properties of lunar soil.