Saturday, February 21, 2015

Students build dust mitigation experiments with NASA

Students at two Hawaii schools have teamed up with NASA to develop lunar dust mitigation experiments which may be tested  on Google Lunar X-Prize contestant landers in the near future [HawaiiNewsNow].
Lisa Kubota

Students at two Hawaii schools are embarking on a new space mission. They're teaming up with NASA on an experiment that is heading to the moon. Students at Iolani School and Kealakehe High School have been working on the lunar project for months now. NASA developed the electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) to repel pesky planetary dust that gathers on space gear. The technology, which uses electricity to clear off surfaces, hasn't been tested yet in space.

"The dust on the moon is very sharp and scratchy so during NASA's Apollo experience they found that the astronauts were coming back with visors that they basically couldn't see out of because it had gotten so dusted up and scratched up when they tried to wipe them off," explained Iolani teacher Gilson Killhour.

The project involves NASA, the two schools, the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and a Google Lunar X-PRIZE team. Each campus built a mockup lander and designed a frame for the dust shield.

"It's a very unique opportunity that's probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I'm glad I was able to jump on it and be able to participate," said Iolani senior Keegan McCrary.

"If they do make it to the moon, they'll test their own test for Google and then they'll test ours, which is the EDS. They'll have the rover, which is back there, and it will circle around and video," said Iolani senior Veronica Shei.

The students will test their experiment at a PISCES site high atop Mauna Kea next month.

View the original report, HERE.

An additional report on this topic was produced by Cam Tran at KITV (Honolulu), HERE.