Turkish scientists produce lunar soil on earth
The success has led Turkey to become one of the 10 countries to produce lunar soil on earth after the U.S., Germany, Australia, China, India, Italy, Japan, Canada and South Korea.
“We have achieved similar soil samples like the ones on the moon,” Cengiz Toklu, the head of the science team, told Demirören News Agency on March 15.
According to the professor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the U.S. has brought around 400 kilos of lunar soil to earth with the space missions of Apollo and Luna. Also, the unmanned Chinese rovers traveling on the moon have collected about 1.7 kilos of soil samples.
“The [chemical] characteristics of the soil samples on the moon differ from the locations they were collected. A sample from a high altitude differs from the one taken from a hole [a crater],” he said. “While the other countries worked on specific soil samples, we created a formula covering all soil samples,” he added.
The professor highlighted that they named the “best sample they have achieved” similar to the ones collected during the Apollo mission as “TBG-1.”
“T” stands for Turkey and “B” for Beykent, the name of the Turkish university supporting the research.
Toklu expressed the steps they have taken amid the research one by one. “We had the chemical analysis of the original lunar soil samples,” he said, adding, “Then we started collecting samples from unspoiled areas at various volcanic sites across Turkey.”
The professor hinted that they had “some help from some mountaineers” in collecting those samples.
Finally, they started lab experiments with the mixture of collected samples.
“Despite the high costs of space works, we have achieved this with a low budget,” the professor underlined.
When asked about the next step they will take, Toklu replied, “Now, we will deal with what we can do with the soil we have produced.”
“Producing tons of them, we will test how we will be able to use them on the moon.”
Turkey, which established its own space agency in 2018, announced its national space program in February 2021. The country aims to make a rough landing on the moon in 2023 and send an unmanned rover on the moon and an astronaut to the International Space Station by 2030.