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Published June 2023 | public
Journal Article

Electrostatic dust remediation for future exploration of the Moon


Dust accumulation is one of the critical issues that must be mitigated on in-situ lunar explorations because an in-situ probe is exposed to small dust particles, which are easily attached to it, during its operations. The Lunar Dust Science Definition Team is organized by the Jet Propulsion Lab/California Institute of Technology through NASA's Biological and Physical Sciences Division to define key science questions and assess dust remediation techniques. Here, we assess three electrostatic remediation technology concepts: electrostatic dust shield; surface electrostatically collecting dust, later called attractive surface; and electron beam — plasma jet inducing electrostatic dust lofting from a surface. We qualitatively investigate their maturity by defining six operational factors: Time and location; Amount of dust removal; Contamination of target surfaces; Operation duration; Installation; and Safety. In addition to these techniques, we discuss a supporting system that loads dust particles onto a test article to examine dust removal efficiency. The results show that further development increases the maturity of all the technologies. While laboratory and theoretical demonstrations reported whether each technology robustly work on the Moon, which hosts a complex, heterogeneous dust environment, we find that it is still uncertain if this is the case because none has been tested in the lunar environment. Particularly, operation duration and safety are critical to be addressed further on both laboratory and spaceflight scales.

Additional Information

© 2023 IAA. Published by Elsevier. This work was supported by the Biological and Physical Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate and by the Game Changing Development Program of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate through a contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Part of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA, USA (80NM0018D0004). The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023