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Center Independent Research & Development: JSC IRAD

EVA Suit Microbial Leakage Investigation

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Form, Fit, and Function Testing of EVA Swab With Mark III Suited Subject

The objective of this project is to collect microbial samples from various EVA suits to determine how much microbial contamination is typically released during simulated planetary exploration activities. Data will be released to the planetary protection and science communities, and advanced EVA system designers. In the best case scenario, we will discover that very little microbial contamination leaks from our current or prototype suit designs, in the worst case scenario, we will identify leak paths, learn more about what affects leakage--and we'll have a new, flight-certified swab tool for our EVA toolbox.

NASA has a strategic knowledge gap (B5-3) regarding what life signatures leak/vent from our Extravehicular Activity (EVA) systems; this potentially impacts how we will search for evidence of life at exploration destinations. Funding will be used to fabricate and sterilize test consumables (swab tips), prepare Test Readiness Review products (such as materials compatibility and hazard assessments), certify the EVA Swab Tool, participate in test opportunities as they arise, and perform analysis on collected swabs.

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