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Development of a Modified Vacuum Cleaner for Lunar Surface SystemsThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission to expand space exploration will return humans to the Moon with the goal of maintaining a long-term presence. One challenge that NASA will face returning to the Moon is managing the lunar regolith found on the Moon's surface, which will collect on extravehicular activity (EVA) suits and other equipment. Based on the Apollo experience, the issues astronauts encountered with lunar regolith included eye/lung irritation, and various hardware failures (seals, screw threads, electrical connectors and fabric contamination), which were all related to inadequate lunar regolith mitigation. A vacuum cleaner capable of detaching, transferring, and efficiently capturing lunar regolith has been proposed as a method to mitigate the lunar regolith problem in the habitable environment on lunar surface. In order to develop this vacuum, a modified "off-the-shelf" vacuum cleaner has been used to determine detachment efficiency, vacuum requirements, and optimal cleaning techniques to ensure efficient dust removal in habitable lunar surfaces, EVA spacesuits, and air exchange volume. During the initial development of the Lunar Surface System vacuum cleaner, systematic testing was performed with varying flow rates on multiple surfaces (fabrics and metallics), atmospheric (14.7 psia) and reduced pressures (10.2 and 8.3 psia), different vacuum tool attachments, and several vacuum cleaning techniques to determine the performance requirements for the vacuum cleaner. The data recorded during testing was evaluated by calculating percent removal, relative to the retained simulant on the tested surface. In addition, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) imaging was used to determine particle size distribution retained on the surface. The scope of this paper is to explain the initial phase of vacuum cleaner development, including historical Apollo mission data, current state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner technology, and vacuum cleaner testing that has focused on detachment capabilities varying pressure environments.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Toon, Katherine P.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lee, Steve A.
(Jacobs Technologies Engineering Science Contract Group Houston, TX, United States)
Edgerly, Rachel D.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
40th International Conference on Environmental Systems(Barcelona)
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