Planetary Simulant Database

Free Resource for Regolith Simulant Information


The crystalline mineralogy of Mooncastle is dominated by quartz.

Bulk Chemistry

Not measured

Physical Properties

Coming Soon


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Simulant Name: Mooncastle
Availability: Available
Fidelity: Specialty
Developed By: Colorado School of Mines
Available From: Simulants at Mines

The Mooncastle simulant has been developed by Colorado School of Mines to replicate the flow behavior of lunar regolith as observed on the surface of the Moon. Apollo astronauts described the consistency of lunar soils as being similar to wet sand; boot prints and drill holes/trenches retained near-vertical slopes; returned core samples contain cohesive regolith clods; returned regolith will not flow freely through a funnel. Almost none of these phenomena are reproduced by any existing simulants made by crushing rocks, even those billed as "geotechnical simulants" which is a poorly defined term.

Mooncastle is prepared using low fidelity material (mostly quartz sand) with a binder introduced increase the cohesion between grains and reproduce flow properties. Thus, Mooncastle behaves the same way as lunar regolith, but for the wrong reasons. The true reasons (hard vacuum that leads to high surface cleanliness on grains), reduced gravity, and intrinsic particle characteristics are nearly impossible to reproduce in laboratory conditions.

The simulant is available from Colorado School of Mines starting at $8/kg for bulk amounts.