JSC-1A Lunar Soil Simulant: Characterization, Glass Formation, and Selected Glass Properties


The chemical composition of a volcanic ash deposited near Flagstaff, Arizona, USA closely resembles that of the soil from the Maria geological terrain of the Moon. After mining and processing, this volcanic ash was designated as JSC-1A lunar simulant, and made available by NASA to the scientific research community in support of its future exploration programs on the lunar surface. The present paper describes characterization of the JSC-1A lunar simulant using DTA, TGA, XRD, chemical analysis and Mössbauer spectroscopy and the feasibility of developing glass and ceramic materials using in-situ resources on the surface of the Moon. The overall chemical composition of the JSC-1A lunar simulant is close to that of the actual lunar soil collected by Apollo 17 mission, and the total iron content in the simulant and the lunar soil is nearly the same. The JSC-1A lunar simulant contains both Fe2+ (∼ 76%) and Fe3+ (∼ 24%) ions as opposed to the actual lunar soil which contains only Fe2+ ions, as expected. The glass forming characteristics of the melt of this simulant as determined by measuring its critical cooling rate for glass formation suggests that the simulant easily forms glass when melted and cooled at nominal rates between 50 and 55 °C/min. The coefficient of thermal expansion of the glass measured by dilatometry is in close agreement with that of alumina or YSZ, which makes the glass suitable for use as a coating and sealing material on these ceramics. Potential applications envisaged up to this time of these glass/ceramics on the surface of the Moon are also discussed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Materials Science and Engineering


NASA Small Business Innovation Research

Keywords and Phrases

DTA; Mössbauer; XRD; Glass Formation; Lunar Soil Simulant

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0022-3093; 1873-4812

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2010