Exolith Simulant: MGS-1C Clay ISRU


Mineral Wt.%
Smectite 40.0
Plagioclase 16.4
Glass-rich basalt 13.7
Pyroxene 12.2
Olivine 8.2
Mg-sulfate 2.4
Ferrihydrite 2.1
Hydrated silica 1.8
Magnetite 1.1
Anhydrite 1.0
Fe-carbonate 0.8
Hematite 0.3

Bulk Chemistry

Because MGS-1C is a mineralogical standard, the bulk chemistry of simulants created from the standard will differ depending on the crystal chemistry of the source minerals used. Below, we report the latest analysis for the production version of MGS-1C.

Oxide Wt.%
SiO2 56.13
TiO2 0.21
Al2O3 16.89
Cr2O3 0.02
FeOT 8.24
MnO 0.04
MgO 12.57
CaO 2.02
Na2O 1.91
K2O 0.47
P2O5 0.35
SO3 1.16
Total 100.01

Physical Properties

Particle size range: 0-1 mm
Mean particle size (by volume): 24 μm


MGS-1C is a modified version of the root MGS-1 simulant, and is enriched in hydrated clay minerals (smectite). This represents the Reference Case “C” in the NASA Mars Water In-Situ Resource Utilization Study.

MGS-1C is specifically designed for ISRU water extraction studies; the M-WIP study concluded that hydrated clay deposits are advantageous for water extraction on Mars, and may be much easier to access and excavate than permafrost deposits.


Photograph of an MGS-1C prototype: