Do you still get goose bumps when you hear Neil Armstrong say "that's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"? Have you ever wanted to pass that feeling of unbridled enthusiasm and sheer amazement toward space exploration on to another? Simply put, Project Moon Dust was designed to combine a tangible element of outer space with the knowledge and inspiration to motivate society to once again believe in the unbelievable and rejuvenate the passion for space exploration.
The Lunar Surface: A Place of Mystery
The Moon has long captured the imagination and has been an awe inspiring feature of our universe. The closest extraterrestrial body to earth, hanging effortlessly in our nights sky, the Moon seems so close, yet is so far away. An unequaled feat of engineering and American ingenuity, man's first steps on the Moon will never be forgotten.
The question - Why is this material important? The answer - "Going into hostile environments like space will require the use of available resources, which means among many other things, extracting oxygen and water from rocks. New ideas will be needed and that will require young minds to come up with answers." Dr. Steve Wilson, USGS - Lakewood, Colorado.
When exploring new environments, in order to conquer and indeed survive within them, we must first understand them. Given that the surface of the moon is made of material unlike anything on Earth, we must understand the composition and unique features of that material. If we as a species intend on surviving long term, we must branch out into the universe. It is a scientific fact that at some point in time the earth will cease to sustain life. The first steps toward inhabiting another planet will involve understanding the extraterrestrial surfaces.
The Moon is a likely location for the first stop on major space expeditions, perhaps for a refueling station? According to Dr. Doug Rickman of NASA Huntsville, AL, on delivering the Curiosity Rover to Mars, "the entire rocket at launch weighed 528,202kg (1,162,050 lbs). All of that was to deliver 899kg (2,000lbs) to the surface of Mars. This means 99.83% of the rocket was thrown away to deliver 0.17% to Mars. The Moon is a big pile of oxygen, hydrogen, with lots of metals and other things needed. Just getting out of the Earth’s gravity well to low Earth orbit takes 95% of everything a rocket starts with. Going to the Moon is much worse. Going to a planet is crazy difficult. If we could refuel once we get out of the gravity well the change in what we could then do would be phenomenal! "
Lunar Simulant - How it's made.
We have invented(and patented) a machine that will reproduce the lunar regolith and other celestial materials here on Earth. Our patented Remotely Coupled Transferred Arc Plasma System for 20,000 Kelvin(35,000°F) is able to simulate conditions similar to meteorite and micrometeorite impacts on the moon.
Check out the video below for a technical understanding of the process. Courtesy of Dr. Doug Rickman and the NASA STI Program.
We are in need of funding to create our Lunar Simulant Educational package. If the project is successfully funded on Kickstarter, 25% of the funding will be used to design and purchase the packaging and printed material that will be included in the educational package. The remainder of the funding will be used to create five educational videos.
The actual Lunar Simulant provides the tangible component that connects a person to the challenges of space exploration. It provides a medium that people can touch and see how the material found on the moon is different than material on earth. The printed educational material and packaging provides the knowledge so people can appreciate and understand the differences between the Earth and the moon. The videos provide the inspiration to dream of ways people can use and explore our universe. The package of the Lunar simulant, educational material and videos will hopefully provide the motivation for some people to explore the last final frontier and use technology developed in the space program for solving problems on Earth.
Lunar simulant on its own is an amazing product, perfect for those who need it for research, however, what about those people who aren't involved in research projects... Like young Johnny- who wants to be an astronaut when he grows up... A vial of Moon dust is pretty cool, but to make it really meaningful to Johnny and others like him, we would like to connect the dots with a series of educational videos.
Additionally, we need funding to complete our product packaging(we need to pay to have the boxes & foam inserts mass produced for the hobbyist package). Also, we need labels for all simulant vials to be printed professionally.
Production and Fulfillment Plan:
After reaching the funding goal, we will immediately start the project. The following is our current plan:
Educational Materials and Product Packaging: Drafts of the educational content will be completed within 4 weeks. These will be sent to several University and Space industry experts for comments. After integrating the comments, the final drafts will be sent our for printing. The packaging and glass containers used for the lunar simulant will be ordered immediately on project funding. These have already been sourced, samples received and tested. Zybek will produce and package the actual lunar simulants at our facility located in Boulder Colorado. Current staff will be used for the packaging and shipping.
Videos: We are encouraging our backers to please vote on which video you would most like to see produced. Which video do you think would have the most impact on persons who are interested in lunar regolith and outer space? We believe that the more input we receive, the better the outcome will be. The 5 videos that receive the most votes will be produced with the funds raised. We are scheduling the videos to be released - one per month for 5 months(starting a month and a half after the project funding period has ended). Depending on the topic, the video crew will be sent to the location for field scenes and interviews.
Here is the list of proposed video topics from the Zybek team:
Experiments with moon dust: Things you can do with your simulant that will help you understand the differences between the surface of the moon and Earth. (potential guest/s from CAL Tech.)
Differences between Lunar Mare, Lunar Highlands and Earth: Understanding the geology of the lunar regolith, what makes the dark spots dark and the light spots light...(potential guest/s from the U.S. Geological Survey)
Understanding Micrometeorite impacts: Why is the moon the way it is? What makes the surface of the moon so unique?(potential guest/s from NASA)
Living on the Moon: Is it possible? What challenges would we have to overcome? How could moon dust & lunar regolith provide oxygen, water and other useable substances?(potential guest/s from NASA and or Lockheed Martin)
Terrestrial applications, Space Tech: What potential applications of technology designed for use in space could be used here on Earth as well?
Abrasives on the Moon:The first footprint left on the Moon was made by a boot produced by 3M. What design challenges did they face and how did they overcome the unknown?(potential guest/s from 3M)
___________________: Project Backers Suggested Movie
___________________: Project Backers Suggested Movie
Hobbyist Package -
Educational Package -
Zybek Advanced Products: A bit about us.
Zybek Advanced Products was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1996. Zybek is an engineering, system development and manufacturing company that is experienced in meeting the production needs of our diverse group of industrial clients. Zybek owns a complete machine shop and fabrication equipment. We routinely go from concept to finished product in record time. Whether its an individual part made to keep a machine running, to prototyping a new concept, to the design and assembly of complete systems, Zybek Advanced Products can provide the solutions.
Zybek is not entirely new to kickstarter. Check out our other successfully funded co-project : The Dock Plus
From everyone at Zybek, THANK YOU in advance for backing Project Moon Dust!
Project Mantra: Knowledge is power, Seeing is believing, Testing is essential, Space Travel is our Future.
Risks and challenges
Given the fact that our project is unique in many ways, we expect some challenges throughout the process. We are not professional videographers and we don't have much experience with making movies. Our challenge will be to make movies that are educational in nature, but also keep the attention of children and adults alike. We need to capture the imagination of our audience while teaching them about the challenges of lunar exploration and all extraterrestrial exploration in turn. We plan on tackling this challenge by hiring professionals who have experience in videography and enlisting the help of professionals in the space travel/exploration field.
Cast your vote! Have a say in which educational videos get made. We are interested in your opinion as to what videos you believe will best suit the end goal of educating and inspiring people about space exploration. Vote on the proposed video ideas listed or suggest your own(suggestions will be considered - and added to the list if approved by the ZAP team). Pledge early to ensure your ideas make the list. The top 5 voted videos will be produced and will be made available to all backers.
Receive two 2ml glass vials of Lunar Simulant - one vial of Highlands, one vial of Mare. Also, cast your vote as to which videos get produced. Vote on the proposed video ideas listed or suggest your own(suggestions will be considered - and added to the list if approved by the ZAP team).
Receive one of our Hobbyist Packages. This package includes one 25ml vial of Highland Simulant and one 25ml vial of Mare simulant. Also included is a vial of beach sand for comparative experimentation, a funnel for easy transfer of material, unique packaging and inspirational imagery. Great for anyone interested in space travel and exploration. Also, cast your vote as to which videos get produced. Vote on the proposed video ideas listed or suggest your own(suggestions will be considered - and added to the list if approved by the ZAP team).
Receive one of our Educational Packages. This package includes two 16oz bottles of Simulant, one Mare and one Highland. Also included is a vial of beach sand for comparative testing, a funnel for easy transfer of material, a ball bearing for impact testing, inspirational imagery and an attractive carrying case. Also, cast your vote as to which videos get produced. Vote on the proposed video ideas listed or suggest your own(suggestions will be considered - and added to the list if approved by the ZAP team).
Come visit us at our facility in Boulder, Colorado for a production run of Lunar Simulant. Be present while our Patented Plasma system heats material to an astounding 35,000°F. Take home with you an educational package and a hobbyist package filled with the material you just saw created! As an added show of our appreciation, we will customize your educational package by CNC engraving your name or institution name on the label.