NASA may bring humans back to the surface of the moon as soon as 2024. And, if they do, lunar dust will be a big issue. A team of scientists at the Kennedy Space Center are looking for a solution with their Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS).
Oh, you don’t think dust is a problem? It’s just a little dust, right? What’s the big deal? What about super sharp, pointy dust particles that have never been eroded like the dust we know on Earth? Yeah that’s right. This is dust that will cut up your lungs from the inside. And, it’s toxic to humans. Mmhmm. So, yes. It’s a problem to any person exposed to it. And, the longer their stay on the moon, the more dangerous it is. Add to that the threat the dust poses to delicate instruments, mechanisms on spacecraft, cameras, and whatever else you can think of that has seems, nooks and crannies.
Dr. Carlos Calle and a team of researchers think they have a solution to the moon dust problem. They have built a device that uses “dynamic electric fields to remove dust from surfaces.” That’s according to nasa.gov. The EDS has been sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for a test run. It will be installed inside a flight facility platform outside the space station, attached by a robotic arm. There, it will be exposed to the vacuum of space, radiation and all of the other terrifying things space provides.
The EDS is activated using transparent (invisible) electrodes. “It can be integrated on astronauts’ visors, camera lenses, solar panels, optical instruments, habitat windows, lander viewports and even spacesuits. The EDS can operate manually — through a switch that would clear the dust in just seconds — or autonomously, which would continuously deflect the dust.” If the EDS is successful at the ISS, it will be a very good sign for extended stays on the moon and, eventually, Mars.
Sounds great! Let’s go to the moon!!