Planetary Simulant Database: PCA-1 Phobos Captured Asteroid

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Mineral Wt.%
Antigorite 51
Magnetite 14
Vermiculite 9
Olivine 7
Pyrite 7
Attapulgite 5
Sub-bituminous coal 5
Carbon black 1

Bulk Chemistry

Oxide Wt.%
SiO2 29.2
TiO2 0.3
Al2O3 4.7
Cr2O3 0.1
Fe2O3 26.0
MnO 0.1
MgO 32.1
CaO 1.7
K2O 0.4
P2O5 0.4
SO3 4.6
Total 99.8

Physical Properties

No data available

Simulant Name: PCA-1 Phobos Captured Asteroid
Current Status: In production, small amounts available
Developed By: University of Central Florida
Available From: Kevin Cannon (
Publications: Cannon, K. M. et al. (2018), New High Fidelity Martian and Phobos Regolith Simulants: Enabling Tools for Exploring the Mars System and ISRU Development. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference XLIX, Abstract #2086.

The Phobos Captured Asteroid simulant has been developed at the University of Central Florida as part of ongoing work to investigate physical properties of Phobos surface materials. It is paired with PGI-1, and the two simulants reflect the two leading theories for the formation of Phobos: (1) a captured C- or D-type asteroid, or (2) a debris disc from a giant impact composed of part carbonaceous asteroid, part Mars mantle.

PCA-1 is based on the mineralogy of carbonaceous chondrites. Because of a lack of constraints, we chose to base this simulant on the UCF/DSI CI chondrite simulant for simplicity. It is possible that Phobos is more similar to a C2 ungrouped chondrite like Tagish Lake, but this would not significantly change the mineralogy.

The simulant was created in the same way as our CI-based asteroid simulant, by mixing the individual minerals wet and then crushing the dried clumps into a regolith-like particle size distribution. The <25 μm size fraction was sieved out, consistent with Phobos where this fraction is likely winnowed out by solar wind interactions.

We do not currently have plans to mass-produce this simulant, but small amounts (10s or 100s of grams) are available on request.


Photograph of the PCA-1 simulant:

Other Phobos Simulants
Carbonaceous Chondrite Based Simulant of Phobos | PCA-1 | PGI-1