The feasibility of extended exploration and human presence on the Moon and Mars depends critically on dealing with the environmental factors, especially the intrusive effects of dust. The prior Apollo landed missions found that the lunar dust exhibited high adherence to exposed surfaces and a restrictive friction-like action causing premature wear of the EVA suits. MoonDust is a project being performed in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency to study the effects of lunar dust on optics and mechanics, and to develop innovative solutions to extend their operational lifetime within a lunar or Mars environment based on the unique properties of carbon nanotube (CNT) nanocomposites. To assist this work, a small lunar environment simulation vacuum chamber has been set-up at MPB Communications to enable the study of lunar dust effects on optics and rotary mechanisms at pressures to below 10-5 Torr. New lunar dust simulants have been developed at the University of Winnipeg, characteristic of lunar Mare (UW-M1) and highland (UW-H1) compositions, which incorporate nanophase Fe in the silica particles. This paper describes the preliminary characterization of the various available lunar dust simulants that has included IR Raman and EDX for molecular and elemental composition, SEM Microscopy for morphology, and Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM) for magnetic properties. Trial CNT nanocomposite dust deflectors/traps were fabricated and experimentally validated for magnetic and electrostatic interactions with lunar dust simulants. Good deflection and retention of submicron dust particles for device dust protection was observed. The preliminary experimental results are discussed.

41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Kruzelecky, R.V. (Roman V.), Aïssa, B. (Brahim), Wong, B. (Brian), Haddad, E. (Emile), Jamroz, W. (Wes), Cloutis, E. (Edward), … Jiang, X.X. (Xin Xiang). (2011). Project Moondust: Characterization and mitigation of lunar dust. In 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011.