“Ground truth”, or: Wanted: Fake Moon Dirt
Monday, February 13, 2006
Again, while in the process of searching for images of the Asteromo, I came across this year-old article from Space.com: “If humans are going back to the Moon for real, there’s need for counterfeit lunar materials. Known as simulants, tons of fake lunar soil is likely needed to assure that future explorers can sustain their stay on Earth’s neighboring Moon.
“Any thought of setting up machinery that converts lunar regolith — that’s the Moon’s topside rug of rock and dust — into building materials, solar cells, or fuel, water and oxygen supplies — demands a lot of beforehand work.”
Quoting the article further: “Tons of lunar simulant, called JSC-1, were produced years ago under the auspices of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, hence the name. Made from volcanic ash of basaltic composition, JSC-1’s composition mimicked many of the attributes of lunar mare soil samples.”
To establish “ground truths,” as it were, with local landscapes simulating alien landscapes.
Not really following a direct line of thought here, but I wonder when will the moon have its own USDA Soil Survey Map — or these fake moon dirt their own taxonomic classes — in which landscape architects can check their potential agricultural productivity (how many bushels of corn, for instance, can they yield); floral and faunal habitation (hardwood or coniferous or herbaceous); structural support capacity (dwelling with basements or dwellings without basements); gradient (good, moderate or severe); hydrological management concerns (wetness, slow refill, erodible), etc.
So that an avowed soil survey map addict can curl up in bed, coffee in hand and maybe some post-rock in the background and why not with these soil maps as well, and just have a good read.
Everyone knows what I'm talking about, right?
Leonard David, “Wanted: Fake Moon Dirt.” SPACE.com (24 January 2005)