Size Sorting Lunar Soil at NASA

The sky isn’t the limit for global sieving and filtration specialists Russell Finex

With increased interest in mining lunar regolith (lunar soil) on the moon, NASA approached the University of Wisconsin – Madison to carry out new research looking into the feasibility of using existing mining technologies used on Earth within lunar gravity. With one trip to the moon costing an estimated $3 billion, travelling to the moon to carry out the experiments was not an option. Therefore the research team needed to simulate lunar gravity, obtain a suitable sample of lunar regolith and find a suitable sieve that could size-sort lunar particles both on the ground at the airbase (to provide a control comparison) as well as in lunar gravity.

NASA-Use-Vibratory-Sieve.jpgDue to space limitations the sieve needed to be small and compact as well as simple and easy to clean during flights. For this, the research team contacted Russell Finex following a recommendation from NASA. After careful consideration of which sieving machine to use, a Russell Compact Sieve® check-screener was chosen for the experiment due to its straight-through, compact design. The results of the trials provided some promising findings, suggesting that the vibrating sieve could be used successfully within lunar gravity.

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