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Appropriate Simulants are a Requirement for Mars Surface Systems Technology DevelopmentTo date, there are two simulants for martian regolith: JSC Mars-1A, produced from palagonitic (weathered) basaltic tephra mined from the Pu'u Nene cinder cone in Hawaii [1] by commercial company Orbitec, and Mojave Mars Simulant (MMS), produced from Saddleback Basalt in the western Mojave desert by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory [2]. Until numerous recent orbiters, rovers, and landers were sent to Mars, weathered basalt was surmised to cover every inch of the martian landscape. All missions since Viking have disproven that the entire martian surface is weathered basalt. In fact, the outcrops, features, and surfaces that are significantly different from weathered basalt are too numerous to realistically count. There are gullies, evaporites, sand dunes, lake deposits, hydrothermal deposits, alluvium, etc. that indicate sedimentary and chemical processes. There is no one size fits all simulant. Each unique area requires its own simulant in order to test technologies and hardware, thereby reducing risk.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Edmunson, Jennifer E. (Bay Area Environmental Research Inst. Huntsville, AL, United States)
McLemore, Carole A. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Rickman, Douglas L. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
June 12, 2012
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration(Houston, TX)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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