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Daytona Beach


Applied Aviation Sciences

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Unexpected issues were encountered during the Apollo era of lunar exploration due to detrimental abrasion of materials upon exposure to the fine-grained, irregular shaped dust on the surface of the Moon. For critical design features involving contact with the lunar surface and for astronaut safety concerns, operational concepts and dust tolerance must be considered in the early phases of mission planning. To systematically define material selection criteria, dust interaction can be characterized by two-body or three-body abrasion testing, and sub-categorically by physical interactions of compression, rolling, sliding and bending representing specific applications within the system. Two-body abrasion occurs when a single particle or asperity slides across a given surface removing or displacing material. Three-body abrasion occurs when multiple particles interact with a solid surface, or in between two surfaces, allowing the abrasives to freely rotate and interact with the material(s), leading to removal or displacement of mass. Different modes of interaction are described in this paper along with corresponding types of tests that can be utilized to evaluate each configuration. In addition to differential modes of abrasion, variable concentrations of dust in different zones can also be considered for a given system design and operational protocol. These zones include: (1) outside the habitat where extensive dust exposure occurs, (2) in a transitional zone such as an airlock or suitport, and (3) inside the habitat or spacesuit with a low particle count. These zones can be used to help define dust interaction frequencies, and corresponding risks to the systems and/or crew can be addressed by appropriate mitigation strategies. An abrasion index is introduced that includes the level of risk, R, the hardness of the mineralogy, H, the severity of the abrasion mode, S, and the frequency of particle interactions, F.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Boulder, Colorado

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Additional Information

Conference held January 27-29, 2010.

Dr. Kobrick was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.