The simulants are terrestrial materials synthesized to approximate the chemical and mechanical properties of the lunar and martian soil layer formed by dust and rock fragments.
The Hypate initiative, with researchers from the CSIC, will manufacture ceramic percussion instruments with simulating materials from the lunar and martian soil.
Researchers from the CSIC and the Polytechnic University of Valencia participate in the Hypate project, the purpose of which is to develop literally extraterrestrial musical instruments, specifically, from dust and rocks on the surface of the Moon and Mars. In the first phase of the project, the researchers will manufacture percussion instruments such as bells and shakers using volcanic petrological simulants that emulate the lunar and martian surface.
Regolith is the first layer of unconsolidated soil made up of small fragments of rock, dust, and loose minerals. To obtain the composition of this material, the research has partnered with ExolithLab, an entity that collaborates directly with NASA. As explained Amparo Borrell, researcher at the UPV Institute of Materials Technology:
We analyze the dust microstructurally and determine its chemical and mineralogical composition, studying parameters such as its morphology or density. We also carry out high energy grinding to break agglomerates and reduce the size of the grain to later study their packing. Once we have the material, we press it and put it in different high-temperature ovens, conventional or unconventional, such as microwaves. And, when we already have the dense material, we characterize it and analyze its mechanical and thermal properties. The idea is to make musical instruments, but we do not rule out other types of applications such as tools, constructions and all kinds of needs that can be had on the Moon when it is installed there.