Coating technology of NASA to help resolve lunar dust challenge

Press Release

The International Space Station is currently testing an advanced coating system that will perform some functions on components of the satellite. .The primary purpose of the coating system is to solve some of the challenges facing NASA, i.e., how to prevent the razor-shaped like grains of dust from cleaving on everything they meet such as astronauts’ spacesuits. The Dynamic Response of the Environment’s Asteroids, Moon, and the Stars organization is leading in researching this system. Under its program of Artemis, the body aims to enact a very purposeful exploration of the moon by 2028.

Vivek Dwivedi and Mark Hasegawa-Goddard technologists originally designed the coating system. The system aids in stopping the accumulation of electrical charges since they can annihilate electronics in spacecraft. The process of accumulation takes place when a spacecraft flies through plasma that is present in the magnetosphere of the earth. Plasma has trapped particles with charges, which conduct electricity, and it is during this process that the accumulation occurs. 

The concept of Hasegawa was to utilize an accelerated technology known as ‘atomic layer deposition.’ The function of this technology is to apply very thin layers of Indium Oxide onto dry colors of paint. Indium Oxide is a compound that drives away electrical charges from a surface. The paint is covered on radiators and other components of space once they are mixed. This will help prevent the accumulation of electrical charges.  

Atomic layer sublimation entails placing a sample inside a reaction chamber; it may be an oven or something of the sort and passing in a variety of gases in order to create an ultra-thin layer. The good thing with this technique is that it is applicable on anything, even objects with three dimensions. Dwivedi and his colleagues prepared plenty of coated coupons. The aim behind this experiment was to assert the service of the color-treated paint. The coupons are currently under exposure to plasma materials at International Space Station. Later in the year, Hasegawa and Dwivedi expect to get the results of that experiment. 

The dust present in the moon is composed of ultra-tiny grains made from an impact of meteorites a million years ago. The collision came because of repeated crushing and melting of the rocks. This led to the formation of small shards of glasses and fragments of minerals.  Since dust particles are made up of jagged edges and contain electrostatic charge, they can travel both at speed compared to that of hurricane and cling to any surface. 

Lunar technologies will be of benefit only if large volumes of atomic layers for deposition Hasegawa. These layers will help coat surfaces from contacting the dust particles. 

This post was originally published on Financial Sector

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