NASA’s charge-dissipating paint supplies a possible resolution to a dusty downside

apollo lunar samples study psd astronaut harrison schmitt 111 December 1972 — Scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt collects lunar rake samples at Station 1 throughout the first Apollo 17 extravehicular exercise (EVA) on the Taurus-Littrow touchdown website. Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander

One problem of lunar landings is one thing so small you won’t even give it some thought — moon mud. Regardless of — or maybe due to — its tiny dimension, the superb mud that covers the moon’s floor causes a variety of technical issues from gumming up electronics to sticking to utterly every thing. It’s even probably dangerous to the well being of astronauts.


Now, NASA has provide you with an answer that might assist alleviate the mud downside. It has developed a brand new coating to be used on satellite tv for pc parts, utilizing a expertise referred to as atomic layer deposition to use an especially skinny layer of indium tin oxide, which dissipates electrical fees, onto dry paint pigments. Then, the paint may be utilized to satellite tv for pc parts to guard them from the build-up fees. To check the coating, painted wafers are being bombarded with plasma aboard the Worldwide House Station to see how they maintain up.

This method works for parts of virtually any form, and it could possibly be utilized to lunar exploration parts as nicely. The moon’s mud downside is partly attributable to plasma, as it’s the ultraviolet radiation from the Solar which positively fees every mud particle and makes them persist with every thing. So it occurred to the researchers that their approach could possibly be utilized to moon rovers and spacesuits as nicely.


“We now have carried out a variety of research investigating lunar mud,” Invoice Farrell, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Middle and head of a corporation which research the lunar atmosphere, defined in an announcement. “A key discovering is to make the outer pores and skin of the spacesuits and different human methods conductive or dissipative. We, the truth is, have strict conductivity necessities on spacecraft on account of plasma. The identical concepts apply to spacesuits. A future aim is for the expertise to supply conductive pores and skin supplies, and that is presently being developed.”

The analysis workforce will now construct an even bigger oven to create larger portions of the charge-dissipating pigment, after which they will apply the coating to spacesuit supplies for extra testing. Finally, they can apply the identical coating to bigger areas like rover surfaces as nicely.

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