You can now buy Martian dirt. And no this is not Sci-fi. University of Central Florida (UCF) has announced that it will be selling martian dirt for $20 per Kilogram plus shipping.
Indeed, a team of UCF astrophysicists has come up with a method for creating Martian dirt. This red soil, created by the UCF researchers, is known as “Simulant” and very closely resembles Martian dirt as its formula is based on the chemical composition of soil actually collected from Mars by the Curiosity rover. The formula has been published online and is accessible to everyone.
“Most of the minerals we need are found on Earth although some are very difficult to obtain”
said Kevin Cannon, the lead author of the paper.
“The simulant is useful for research as we look to go to Mars,” according to a Physics Professor Dan Britt, a member of UCF’s Planetary Sciences Group. The new substance will help researchers carry out accurate comparisons and would aid researchers in a variety of experiments, for example, testing the growth of crops, or predicting how exploration equipment might perform on Mars surface.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has ordered half a ton of simulant soil already. Interestingly, the lab also sells moon and asteroid dirt!