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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

NLSI Director’s Virtual Seminar Series with Dr. Zoltan Sternovsky

November 5, 2010

Zoltan Sternovsky, CCLDAS.

Zoltan Sternovsky of CCLDAS presented a specially timed NLSI Seminar on Mon., Nov. 8, 2010, at 4 pm MST, titled “The lunar surface: a dusty plasma laboratory.”

Presentation abstract:

The Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies is focused on the theoretical and experimental investigations of the physics of the lunar surface, including dusty plasma and impact processes, and the development of new instrument concepts with a complementary program of education and community development. CCLDAS is an interdisciplinary program to address basic physical and applied lunar science questions, including issues important to ensure human safety and long-term usability of mechanical and optical devices on the Moon. The Moon’s exposure to solar wind, UV radiation, magnetospheric plasmas, and meteoroid impacts results in a complex, time-dependent environment, which creates a natural dusty plasma laboratory. The charging, possible subsequent mobilization, and transport of fine lunar dust have remained a controversial issue since the Apollo era, and have been suggested to lead to the formation of a dust exosphere. This talk will report on the recent advances in small-scale laboratory experiments, the development of supporting computer simulations, and the status of the Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) for the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission to be launched in early 2013, and other instrument concepts under development. I will also describe the capabilities of the Colorado Dust Accelerator to be commissioned in early 2011, and invite the lunar community to plan on using this unique facility.

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