Cloning That’s Out Of This World

Feats of Chinese counterfeiting derring-do continue to thrill their patrons, and vex the makers of the originals. But they don’t elicit goggle-eyed wonder.

However, there’s something prodigiously inventive about producing knockoffs of lunar and Martian soils.

ORBITEC, a company based in Madison, Wisconsin, produces lunar and Martian regolith simulants to support NASA’s future exploration of the Moon and the Red Planet.

So far, it’s produced 15 tons of fake Moon soil, which was mined from a volcanic ash deposit in the San Francisco volcano field, near Flagstaff, Arizona.

The eight tons of Martian soil it’s processed is from the slopes of the Pu’u Nene cinder cone on the Island of Hawaii.



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