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Center Independent Research & Development: KSC IRAD

Electrodynamic Dust Shield for Lunar/ISS Experiment

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Copper-on-Kapton shield shown after expelling dust.

The Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center is developing a dust mitigation experiment and testing it on the lunar surface and on the International Space Station (ISS). The Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS) clears dust off surfaces and prevents accumulation by using a pattern of electrodes to generate a non-uniform electric field over the surface being protected. The EDS experiment will repel dust off materials such as painted Kapton and glass to demonstrate applications for thermal radiators, camera lenses, solar panels, and other hardware and equipment.

The EDS uses a pattern of electrodes to generate a "wavelike" electric field that pushes dust off surfaces. Dust particles in the vicinity of the EDS electrodes experience a dielectrophoretic force generated by the non-uniform electric field around the electrode grid. This dielectrophoretic force depends on the square of the electrostatic potential difference between adjacent electrodes and the inverse cube of the electrode geometric parameters, such as electrode separation. Thus, for a given force, a decrease in the electrode separation results in a substantial decrease in the voltage required to operate the EDS.

Two configurations will be tested: (1) copper electrodes on Kapton film adhered to an aluminum panel to simulate dust expulsion on thermal radiators and (2) transparent indium tin oxide electrodes on a glass panel to simulate use on optical equipement (i.e., camera lenses). Configurations 1 and 2 will be tested on ISS. Configuration 2 will also be mounted to the footpad of a commercial lander and tested on the lunar surface.

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