Thinking Outside the Apollo Toolbox: Designing SAMPLERS - Spacesuit Attached Multi-Purpose Lunar EVA Retrieval System



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


The tools that the astronauts used during the Apollo missions were designed over 50 years ago and may be inefficient, outdated, or problematic. The development of new geological tools is an important component of NASA's plans to return to the Moon by 2024 in a program called Artemis. NASA has outlined gaps that must be filled before launching a return to the Moon. One requirement was to explore the development of a harness that could be attached to a spacesuit to carry tools. Relevant recent literature finds few studies that have focused on spacesuit attached tools. This research study addresses a known gap and describes the process of designing, fabricating, and testing a spacesuit-attached multi-purpose Lunar geology sampling tool system to improve astronaut Extravehicular Activity (EVA) efficiency. The research and design method utilized a rapid prototyping process to create a tool system called SAMPLERS. The SAMPLERS prototype consisted of five main components. The details of each component and its design considerations, strengths, and issues are discussed. Hardware testing utilized a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative data collection. Test subjects evaluated the completed SAMPLERS prototype while wearing spacesuits in an analog Lunar environment at the University of North Dakota (UND) Human Spaceflight Laboratory. The objective and subjective data supported the advantages of a spacesuit-attached multi-purpose Lunar sampling tool, such as SAMPLERS. The results show SAMPLERS satisfied requirements and demonstrated it is worthy of consideration as a viable addition to the Artemis geology tool assortment.


Samuel J. Stenzel, Wayzata High School, USA
ICES407: Extravehicular Activity: Emerging Space Suit Technologies
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


Extravehicular Activity, Spacesuit, Tools, EVA Tools, Spacesuit mobility, Astronaut efficiency, EVA, Lunar Geology, Artemis, Apollo, Quick release tool belt