Design and Assessment of NYUAD-1 Lunar Regolith Simulants

Bo Peng, Prabu Thannasi, Kemal Celik

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Lunar exploration has been attracting the attention of global space players from developed countries to emerging economies. High-fidelity lunar regolith simulants are needed to simulate the lunar testbed and the lunar environmental conditions on Earth for experiment and design the rover and landers. However, due to their high cost, purchasing commercial simulants for large-scale tests is not economically feasible. Thus, designing simulants with locally available materials is a common practice for most lunar exploration programs. This paper presents a novel simulant NYUAD-1, the first lunar regolith simulant developed in the Middle East. NYUAD-1 is produced by mixing the natural pozzolan (volcanic ash) from Saudi Arabia. The chemical and mineral components analysis suggests a similarity between NYUAD-1 and real lunar soil from the Apollo missions. In addition, several geotechnical properties, including particle size distribution, particle shape, specific gravity, shear strength, compaction, and compressibility, are also measured and compared with Apollo samples and other commercial simulants. The result indicates that NYUAD-1 has desired geo-properties as the lunar regolith and simulants and thus is a good choice for large-scale testbed preparation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
StatePublished - 2023
Event74th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2023 - Baku, Azerbaijan
Duration: Oct 2 2023Oct 6 2023


  • geotechnical properties
  • lunar exploration
  • lunar simulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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