Invention of Indian Moon soil (lunar highland soil simulant) for Chandrayaan missions
International Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering
School of Engineering
Indian Space Research Organization
© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) planned the Chandrayaan missions 2 and 3 to explore the South Polar Region of the Moon, which is believed to consist of lunar highland soil. As a part of its moon-landing mission, it is necessary to prepare a “lunar surface terrain testbed” so that the lander and rover could be tested under simulated conditions. This has resulted in a requirement of around 50 tons of lunar soil simulant, which can match with actual lunar highland soil with respect to chemical/mineralogical composition, particle size distribution, and some selected geomechanical properties, including the trafficability parameters, as reported in the literature. Though earlier, some countries (like USA, China, and Canada) have produced limited quantities of lunar highland soil simulants (LHSS), as reported in the literature, there was a compelling need to indigenously manufacture a large amount of lunar soil simulant (LSS) under the policy of “MAKE IN INDIA”. This technical note explains the development of a new lunar highland soil simulant LSS-ISAC-1 (that is jointly invented by ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) along with Periyar University, Salem and National Institute of Technology, Trichy—Tamilnadu) and its engineering properties, which was manufactured in a large quantity using the natural terrestrial anorthosite rocks. Furthermore, this note also highlights the futuristic research areas, where this soil simulant can be advantageously used for further research and development works.