Been looking everywhere for realistic representations of the lunar surface? Look no more. Zybek Advanced Products, a Boulder-based firm just chosen for assistance by a University of Colorado-affiliated nonprofit dedicated to promoting space-industry entrepreneurship, has built "a full-scale plasma processing facility... used for manufacturing high-volume glass and mineral materials," including "lunar simulant materials." The idea, presumably, is that if NASA really is serious about a return mission to the moon, astronauts will need a realistic foundation for earthbound practice sessions, and not just any rocks will do. Sound like an unlikely business plan? Maybe so -- but it's one that just received a $20,000 grant. Next stop: Mars.
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An image from the Zybek website.