Monday, August 10, 2009

An assessment of dust effects on planetary surface systems to support exploration requirements

From-The Dynamic Lunar Environment: Plasmas, Neutrals & Dust, DeLory, (2008, Fig. 1, NLSI-2086)

Sandra Wagner
Crew and Therman Systems Division
NASA JSC - Houston

Planetary dust leads to major system and mission failure risks. To mitigate the risks associated with dust, Life Support and Habitation initiated a study to determine direction to better understand lunar and Martian dusts.

Engineering requirements are required to bound measurable quantities within the functional limits of people or technologies. Good requirements are generated through a process that involves reviewing lessons learned, identifying systems impacted by dust and other contaminates. Once requirements are written, feasibility studies need to be performed to identify technologies to meet the requirements.

The scope of this assessment was to identify applicable documents relevant to lunar and Martian dust, identify Lunar and Martian human support systems that will be affected by the dusts, determine the requirements that will need to be written, perform a gap analysis to determine what information is still needed to write the requirements, and recommend experiments and measurement on the Earth, moon, and Mars to obtain needed information.

We know from our Apollo surface mission experience that planetary dust presents major risks to the success of surface missions on the moon and Mars.

We know that on Earth, dust causes equipment failure. For example, after the World War II North African campaign, the military left almost all of their equipment because the sand made it useless. They found that dust-covered equipment needs great care in cleaning because the cleaning can cause even more damage.

To mitigate these risks, we need to have an in-depth understanding of dust that crews will encounter. This assessment was performed to formulate questions that need to be answered in order to create feasible requirements, leading to mission success.

This assessment asks the questions that, when answered, will lead to definition of the problem.

Read the Abstract HERE.

No comments: