A Carbonaceous Chondrite Based Simulant of Phobos

Rickman, D.; Patel, M.; Pearson, V. K.; Wilson, S. and Edmunson, J. (2017). A Carbonaceous Chondrite Based Simulant of Phobos. In: 15th Biennial ASCE Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments, 11-15 Apr 2016, Orlando, Florida, American Society of Civil Engineers.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784479971.054


In support of an ESA-funded concept study considering a sample return mission, a simulant of the Martian moon Phobos was needed. There are no samples of the Phobos regolith, therefore none of the four characteristics normally used to design a simulant are explicitly known for Phobos. Because of this, specifications for a Phobos simulant were based on spectroscopy, other remote measurements, and judgment. A composition based on the Tagish Lake meteorite was assumed. The requirement that sterility be achieved, especially given the required organic content, was unusual and problematic. The final design mixed JSC-1A, antigorite, pseudo-agglutinates and gilsonite. Sterility was achieved by radiation in a commercial facility.

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