WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
CLOSEOpt Out: I already like WMFE!

Like us on Facebook!

Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

UCF Astrophysicists Create “Recipe” For Martian Dirt

Video: UCF / YouTube

A team of scientists at the University of Central Florida is making fake Mars dirt and they’re selling it to agencies like NASA.

The simulated Mars dirt is called regolith, and the team of astrophysicists at UCF is using a recipe of various minerals to match the real thing. Scientist will use the regolith to test equipment for future Mars explorations and to figure out how to grow food on Mars.

UCF physicist and geologist Daniel Britt said the team used data from the Mars Curiosity rover to create the regolith. “What we do is we take what we know about the mineralogy of other worlds – it’s not just Mars, we do the moon and asteroids – and we develop formulas and recipes, a pinch of this and a dash of that, to match the mineralogy on these other worlds.”

He says by having a well-defined recipe and consistent product, scientists can get better results. “The goal is to get as realistic and hi fidelity a simulation as possible as to what the surface on an extraterrestrial body is like and use them for scientific and engineering purposes.”

UCF students are working with the team to crush and mix the regolith. “For someone who has always loved space science, this is the ultimate cool,” said Cody Shultz, a mechanical engineering senior working on the regolith. “The experience is fantastic in terms of the real world, out-of-this-world experience.”

The product sells for about $20 a kilogram, plus shipping. UCF said there’s about 30 pending orders for the simulated regolith.


Sign Up For 90.7 WMFE's Newsletter

Catch up on the latest Central Florida news and get updates on programs, events and more.

SUBSCRIBE

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »

TOP