Regolith Sintering: A Solution to Lunar Dust Mitigation?The prospect for a human outpost or permanent lunar base conducting exploration science on the Moon has been discussed in a number of different venues [1-4]. Of all the technological difficulties that confront observatory science on the Moon, dust mitigation remains a serious issue that is either discussed candidly or is oversimplified. In view of the fact that fundamental physics and astronomy research continues to be proposed for a lunar base, the problem of lunar dust must be confronted. In particular, the recent suggestion to place a 20-meter liquid mirror telescope (LMT) on the Moon because "the Moon and liquid mirrors were made for each other" [5-6] shows that the technical readiness level for any new vision of returning to the Moon with such grand-scale ideas is immature. Dust mitigation needs to be addressed, and we present a conceptual strategy for providing a clean area for observational science on a return-to-flight basis using existing technology rather than an evolutionary one that remains undeveloped. Under certain assumptions and caveats, we believe it addresses the problem.
Wilson, T. L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wilson, K. B. (Rice Univ. Houston, TX, United States)
September 7, 2013
January 1, 2005
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 21