Monday, July 5, 2010

DesertRaTS testing Electrodynamic Dust Shield

Figure 1. shows an example of a lunar architecture that is being evaluated at DesertRaTS.

Calle & Immer,
Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory
ASRC Aerospace
Florida Institute of Technology
Oklahoma Baptist University

NASA is developing a Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) to investigate the feasibility of lunar surface technologies and lunar ground operations. The HDU will define and validate lunar scenario architecture through field analog testing. It will contain a four-port vertical habitat module with docking demonstration capabilities. The Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS) is being incorporated into the HDU to demonstrate dust removal from a view-port and from a door prior to docking procedures. In this paper, we will describe our efforts to scale up the EDS to protect a viewport 20 cm in diameter. We will also describe the devel-opment of several 20 cm × 25 cm EDS patches to demonstrate dust removal from one of the HDU doors.

NASA has designed and built a Pressurized Excursion Module (PEM) for a Lunar Habi-tat Demonstration Unit (HDU), a full scale lunar habitat prototype, to perform analog testing of the lunar environment in desert locations. The Desert Research and Technolo-gy Study (RaTS), a series of analog tests that NASA has held at several different desert locations for several years, allows the Agency to run through potential “day in the life” scenarios at a lunar outpost with prototype equipment. These analog tests provide engi-neers and scientists with insights into the utilization of the different systems so that the exploration architecture and the operation concepts can be refined. The HDU will be operated during a 14- to 21-day mission at the 2010 DesertRaTS event planned for Black Point Lava Flow in Arizona.

The PEM has four doors with docking demonstration capabilities. Each door contains a 21-cm diameter viewport. During docking activities with the Lunar Electric Rover (LER), which contains a similar door, the two doors open inward. Any dust accumulating on the surface of these doors must be removed prior to docking.

The Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS) technology that NASA has been developing as an active dust removal system during the past several years is being used to demonstrate dust removal from the PEM door. A transparent EDS system has also been installed on one of the viewports to maintain it dust-free during the DesertRaTS activities.

Figure 6. Photographs of the 20-cm diameter transparent EDS for the PEM viewport during laboratory tests. JSC-1A stimulant dust was deposited in a relatively uniform fashion, as shown at the top. The photograph below it shows the EDS after activation. Dust has been removed to the region outside the electrode grid. These tests were performed with the EDS sitting horizontally in a glove box.

In this paper, we describe the development of the different EDS systems installed on the PEM and the demonstration tests planned for DesertRaTS. We also describe scale up plans for future HDU demonstrations.

Review the research (PDF), HERE
Proceedings ESA Annual Meeting on Electrostatics 2010

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