The Asteroid Redirect Mission has requested more than a ton of the simulant that will be produced by the Phase 2 program, for use in testing the design of ARRM equipment for sensing and grasping the boulder to be returned to lunar orbit, and for preparing the ARCM astronauts to be able to safely interact with the boulder. Joel Sercel, the PI of a NASA-funded NIAC on solar-induced volatiles production ****** NAME already has been using simulant from Phase 1 and intends to use the higher-fidelity simulants to be produced in Phase 2. Dr. Leslie Gertsch ****************** add. The OSIRIS-REx mission is expected to use the Phase 2 simulants to understand and model the results of its interactions with asteroid Bennu. NASA's upcoming deep space habitation module, funded in the 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, will be an appropriate location to test microgravity ISRU processes designed to enhance exploration capabilities through abundant space-sourced propellant, and eventually space-sourced metals for structures and silicon for PV cells. Simulants are required to fully implement this research, since the boulder returned by ARM will represent only one of the roughly 47 asteroid types.
The Hayabusa2 mission could use the Phase 2 simulants to interpret the results when it blows a crater on its target asteroid. Asteroid mining companies such as Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources will require simulants in order to design and test sensors and manipulators for sampling asteroids, large-scale mining equipment, and the the industrial processes to refine and manufacture propellants, components and structures. Academic researchers require simulants for a wide range of investigations into solar system formation and evolution.