Is moon dust (lunar regolith) available for purchase legally? NASA has about 382 kg moon regolith fro Apollo's missions. Is it possible to by a couple grams of it in NASA?


No, it's not for sale. You can send NASA a request to borrow some for scientific experiments, though.

NASA provides lunar rock, soil, and regolith-core samples for both destructive and non-destructive analysis in pursuit of new scientific knowledge. Requests are considered for both basic studies in planetary science and applied studies in lunar materials beneficiation and resource utilization.

A. The sample investigator demonstrates favorable scientific peer review of the proposed work involving lunar samples.

B. The investigator submits a written request specifying the numbers, types, and quantities of lunar samples needed, as well as the planned use of the samples.

C. The Lunar Sample Curator will research the availability of the requested samples and decide whether a unilateral action can be taken or an outside scientific review is required.


It is unlikely the Apollo moon samples will ever be available for sale:

The 842 lbs (381.9 kg) of moon rock that were brought back to Earth during the Apollo program are the property of the United States of America and under American law it is illegal (19 U.S.C. § 1595 a(c)(1)(A)) to transfer public gifts into private ownership without explicitly passing a law to do so.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I seem to remember that, at some point, the US gifted small samples set in perspex to every country on earth, and that many or even most of those seem to have gone missing and may be on the black market. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Sep 4 '18 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ "for [...] destructive [...] analysis" - An interesting definition of "borrow". $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Sep 4 '18 at 17:39

You can't purchase the real stuff, however, there are a few simulates that are intended to mimic the real thing. They are hard to come by, but can be found still. One place that sells them is here (Currently out of stock).


Here is a list of lunar simulants taken from University of Central Florida's Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science's Planetary Simulant Database

Simulants for other bodies are listed there as well. I found this link in the Open Access paper mentioned at the end

Lunar Highlands Simulants

  • LHS-1 Lunar Highlands Simulant 🇺🇸

  • MLS-2 Minnesota Lunar Simulant 🇺🇸

  • NAO-1 National Astronomical Observatories 🇨🇳

  • NU-LHT-1M/2M/3M/1D/2C Lunar Highlands Type 🇺🇸

  • OB-1/CHENOBI Olivine Bytownite 🇨🇦

  • Off Planet Research OPRH2N/H2W/H3N/H3W 🇺🇸

Lunar Mare Simulants

  • ALS Arizona Lunar Simulant 🇺🇸

  • ALRS-1 Australian Lunar Regolith Simulant 🇦🇺

  • BP-1 Black Point 🇺🇸

  • CAS-1 Chinese Academy of Sciences 🇨🇳

  • CLRS-1/2 Chinese Lunar Regolith Simulant 🇨🇳

  • CSM-CL Colorado School of Mines Colorado Lava 🇺🇸

  • CUG-1A China University of Geosciences 🇨🇳

  • DNA-1 De NoArtri 🇮🇹

  • FJS-1/2/3 Fuji Japanese Simulant 🇯🇵

  • GSC-1 Goddard Space Center 🇺🇸

  • JSC-1/1A/1AF/1AC/2A Johnson Space Center 🇺🇸

  • KLS-1 Korea Lunar Simulant 🇰🇷

  • KOHLS-1/KAUMLS Korean Lunar Simulants 🇰🇷

  • LMS-1 Lunar Mare Simulant 🇺🇸

  • Maryland-Sanders Lunar Simulant 🇺🇸

  • MLS-1/1P Minnesota Lunar Simulant 🇺🇸

  • MKS-1 Lunar Simulant 🇯🇵

  • NEU-1 Northeastern University Lunar Simulant 🇨🇳

  • Off Planet Research OPRL2N/L2W 🇺🇸

  • Oshima Simulant 🇯🇵

  • TJ-1/2 Tongji University 🇨🇳

Lunar Dust & Misc. Lunar Simulants

  • BHLD20 Lunar Dust Simulant 🇨🇳

  • CLDS-i Lunar Dust Simulant 🇨🇳

  • CMU-1 Carnegie Mellon University 🇺🇸

  • GRC-1/3 Glenn Research Center 🇺🇸

  • Kohyama Simulant 🇯🇵

  • Off Planet Research OPRFLCROSS1 Lunar Ice Simulant 🇺🇸

This just in!

Science Daily Experimental Martian dirt: $20 a kilogram, plus shipping; Researchers publish recipe for Martian and asteriod simulant

Scroll down for the Open Access paper.

  • Date: September 28, 2018
  • Source: University of Central Florida
  • Summary: A team of astrophysicists has developed a scientifically based, standardized method for creating Martian and asteroid soil known as simulants.

mars regolith simulant

This is not fake news. A team of UCF astrophysicists has developed a scientifically based, standardized method for creating Martian and asteroid soil known as simulants.

The team published its findings this month in the journal Icarus.

It continues...

Kevin Cannon, the paper's lead author and a post-doctoral researcher who works with Britt at UCF, says there are different types of soil on Mars and on asteroids. On Earth, for example, we have black sand, white sand, clay and topsoil to name a few. On other worlds, you might find carbon-rich soils, clay-rich soils and salt-rich soils, he added.

"With this technique, we can produce many variations," Cannon said. "Most of the minerals we need are found on Earth although some are very difficult to obtain."

lunar regolith simulant:

Cannon is in Montana to collect ingredients for a moon simulant this week. Moon and asteroid materials are rare and expensive on Earth since they arrived via meteorites in small amounts. That's why asteroid and moon simulants are also on the list of items that can be ordered. The UCF team can mimic most ingredients and will substitute for any potentially harmful materials. All simulants produced in the lab, meet NASA's safety standards.

Britt and Cannon believe there is a market for the simulant. At $20 a kilogram, plus shipping, it may be easier to send UCF an order, than to try and make it in labs across the nation.

The team already has about 30 pending orders, including one from Kennedy Space Center for half a ton.

The paper mentioned:

Kevin M. Cannon, Daniel T. Britt, Trent M. Smith, Ralph F. Fritsche, Daniel Batcheldor. Mars global simulant MGS-1: A Rocknest-based open standard for basaltic martian regolith simulants. Icarus, 2019; 317: 470 DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.019

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    $\begingroup$ I've added this answer here as well. This is normally done by closing one question as duplicate of another but I am not sure in this particular case if that's appropriate. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 29 '18 at 14:56

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