Providing Experimental Data for Dust Transport Models Using Novel Technology Aboard a Suborbital Lunar-g Test Flight



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


Human activity on extraterrestrial bodies such as the Moon or Mars will necessarily comprise extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Using the Apollo missions as historical evidence, dust will be a significant obstacle in the success of these activities, both during the EVA and upon returning to a pressurized, habitable area. To understand the effects of the artificial atmosphere and reduced gravity on dust transport, modifications to terrestrial equations of motion for dust can be applied to geometries relevant to habitable areas such as airlocks and landers. However, the initial conditions of these models must be assumed, for example, the amount and initial velocities of dust liberated from spacesuit fabric during doffing. To provide such data, an experiment will be flown aboard Blue Origin�s New Shepard platform in 2023, with the goal of measuring the transport behavior of lunar dust simulant as it is released from a small patch of spacesuit fabric which is agitated in a way to mimic doffing. Active and passive dust samplers will analyze time-resolved and time-integrated size distributions at several points throughout the volume of the experiment enclosure. These data will be used as entry points to refine models of lunar dust transport for the upcoming Artemis missions. Future flights may mimic the gravitational acceleration on other bodies such as Mars. Presented is a description of the dust liberation apparatus, nicknamed ClothBot, along with a description of the flight platform and discussion of stated goals of the experiment.


Benjamin Sumlin, Universities Space Research Association, US
Marit Meyer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US
ICES510: Planetary and Spacecraft Dust Properties and Mitigation Technologies
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Lunar Dust, Dust Transport Behavior, Lunar-g Experiment, Model Inputs