One challenge for lunar landings is something so small that you can't even think about it – lunar dust. Despite – or perhaps because of its small size – the fine dust that covers the lunar surface causes a number of technical problems ranging from the partitioning of the electronics to the bonding of absolutely everything. It is even potentially damaging to the health of astronauts.
NASA came up with a solution that can help alleviate the dust problem. He has developed a new coating for use on satellite components, using a technology called atomic deposition to coat an extremely thin layer of indium tin oxide, which scatters electrical charges on pigments of dry paint. The paint can then be applied to satellite components to prevent them from accumulating electrical charges. To test the coating, painted wafers are bombarded with plasma aboard the International Space Station to see how they behave.
This technique works for components of almost any shape and can also be applied to components of the lunar system study. The problem with the dust of the moon is partly caused by plasma, since it is the ultraviolet radiation from the sun that positively charges every dust particle and makes them stick to everything. So it was thought by scientists that their technique could be applied to moon paddlers and spacesuits.
"We conducted a number of studies examining the lunar dust," Bill Farrell, a scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and head of an organization exploring the lunar environment, explained in a statement. "The key finding is to make the outer skin of spacesuits and other human systems conductive or dissipative. In fact, we have strict requirements for the conductivity of spacecraft due to plasma. The same ideas apply to space suits. A future goal is for the technology to produce conductive skin materials and this is currently being developed. "
The research team will now build a larger oven to create larger amounts of pigment that dissipates the charge, and they can then apply coverage to the suits for more tests. They may eventually be able to apply the same coverage to larger areas, such as rover surfaces.