Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this NASA report presents an end-to-end approach to ensure system reliability, crew health, and planetary protection in regolith environments. It also recommends technology investments that would be required to implement this layered engineering defense. During missions on asteroid and lunar and planetary surfaces, space systems and crew health may be degraded by exposure to dust and dirt. Furthermore, for missions outside the Earth-Moon system, planetary protection must be considered in efforts to minimize forward and backward contamination.
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Regolith * Layered Engineering Defense * Background * Strategy * Contamination prevention * Exterior cleaning and protection * Interior cleaning and protection * Air quality * Technology Needs Recommendations
Space System Engineers design their individual components and systems for reliability, as they should. And, for cross-cutting challenges such as regolith contamination, an integrated systems strategy needs to be considered. This same philosophy applies to the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist Space Technology Area Roadmaps. Discrete technologies are scattered throughout the roadmaps. An integrated, cross-cutting strategy - a layered engineering defense - is needed.
The fundamental basis of the design relies on selecting materials that do not accumulate dust and dirt, innovative material fabrication and processing, engineering design that incorporates design for cleaning, robustness and reliability, and effective operational procedures.
The layered engineering defense presented in this paper incorporates contamination prevention, exterior cleaning and protection, interior cleaning and protection, and air quality maintenance. This strategy was developed through a series of studies, workshops, focus groups, technical interchange meetings, and NASA Lunar Regolith Community of Practice (LunRCoP) Webinars. The community surveyed particulate management best practices and technologies across NASA centers, industry, academia, and other government agencies. The approach also includes lessons learned from Apollo surface missions. It depends mostly on sound operations and engineering design though some technology investments will be required.
Contamination prevention includes stabilizing the surface, reducing dust contamination during extravehicular activities (EVAs), incorporating suitlocks into element designs, eliminating contamination from suits and equipment in habitable volumes, and incorporating pass-through glove boxes to ensure habitable volumes are not contaminated. Systems design should incorporate best practices to include material selection and design for cleanability. Best practices should also be applied to operations. For example, contamination prevention procedures and automated cleaning operations will reduce the amount of crew time required for managing regolith-particulate contamination.