It’s good to see that the combined intelligence of NASA’s scientists is being played out in the sand-pit. Well, it’s not actually sand – it’s fake moon dirt. Apparently those astronauts who took part in the Apollo missions didn’t bring back enough of the stuff, and now
anyone who wants to build a moon sand castle anyone wanting to model how lunar landers will touch down is stuck with a shortage of lunar to land on.
Rather than just cranking up the simulator and idling away the rest of their budget, the boffins have decided to do something about it. Together with R&D firm ORBITEC they’re planning to manufacture 16 tonnes of simulated lunar dirt, in three different varieties, then use it to test things like landings, lunar rover racing and how easy it is to bury your friend up to his neck in it while he’s asleep.
Considering the number of innovations from the space race that’ve crossed over into commercial release (memory-foam mattresses, those “writes anywhere!” pens, freeze-dried astronaut food), I wonder how long before you’ll be able to buy a sachet of “Authentic Fake Lunar Loam”