Every scientific experiment or innovation goes through a phase of testing equipment. This is not only true for experiments in the laboratory, but also very relevant for experiments on other planetary bodies. In order to test tools and robotic equipment that are destined for another planet, moon, asteroid or comet, it is necessary to simulate the regolith environment on that surface. In this thesis we have provided an overview of two methods for regolith simulant development. In one approach we made simulants in different compositions to find the best spectral fit to Jupiter Trojan asteroids. At visible to near-infrared (VNIR) wavelengths, the Trojans' spectra have low overall reflectance and red spectral slopes, and a distinctive 10 μm plateau at thermal infrared (TIR) wavelengths. Trojan spectra may be explained by high porosity, fine particulate silicate minerals like olivine mixed with opaques and organics. Our Trojan simulants were made from silicate (olivine), opaque (iron sulfide) and organics (coals) in various proportions and particle sizes. Resulting mixtures were analyzed with spectrometers VNIR to TIR wavelengths. While the perfect Trojan simulant was not created, compositional and particle size effects were characterized, which helps to better understand the Trojan spectra. It is unknown how water ice content changes regolith and dust properties. To be safe during lunar exploration more research and modeling of possible regolith behavior is necessary. The second project presented in this thesis is about a new production method for lunar permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) icy regolith simulant. We build on an existing lunar highlands simulant, by adapting it for lunar poles, where water ice might be present in permanently shadowed regions. We have developed a production pipeline to make granular icy simulant with variable water ice content. We found that icy simulant has an increased porosity, that persists even after dehydration.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Physics; Planetary Sciences Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Slumba, Karlis, "Development of Regolith Simulants of Lunar Permanently Shadowed Regions and Jupiter Trojan Asteroids" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1663.