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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

On-Moon Activities

Lunar dust makes for a harsh working environment. (Courtesy NASA)

In previous missions, the Moon has been a harsh working environment because of the large amount of dust stirred up by human activity. Dust remains a primary engineering challenge as we try to minimize the deposition and inhalation of fine lunar dust in and on space suits, rovers, and habitats.

The adhesion of fine lunar dust to exposed surfaces is largely due to their electrostatic charge. CCLDAS is conducting a series of laboratory experiments designed to explore the role of material properties, the electrostatic charging of lunar dust, and the effects of UV and solar wind exposure on dust contamination. These experiments will provide a scientific basis for developing efficient dust hazard mitigation strategies.