CCLDAS supports experimental facilities for carrying out small-scale, dusty plasma experiments.

The moon’s fine dust, the result of millions of years of meteoritic bombardment, is highly electrostatically charged because of its exposure to the solar wind, UV radiation, and magnetospheric plasmas. Charged lunar dust moves in all directions, is lofted many kilometers above the lunar surface and sticks to anything it comes in contact with, creating challenges for instrument programs and human exploration of the moon.

The Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies (CCLDAS) is an interdisciplinary program that addresses basic physical and applied questions regarding lunar dust and dusty plasma, including issues important to ensure human safety and long-term usability of mechanical and optical devices on the moon.

To study the lunar dust/plasma environment through a combination of modeling, theoretical work and laboratory experiments, CCLDAS is developing new experimental processes to determine:

•The effects that a charged surface mobilizing dusty particles affects the lunar atmosphere
•How solar radiation is responsible for the lunar dusty atmosphere
•How dust can be mitigated on lunar missions

They provide experimental facilities to scientists and institutions around the world with the following capabilities:

◦Dust accelerators: 3 MeV and ‘mini’ 20 kV
◦Large and small test chambers: includes lunar environment simulators
◦Main Lab: ~5000 ft2
◦Office/Conference Space: ~5000 ft2

CCLDAS is building a new state-of-the-art dust accelerator. Now you can see a live webcam of the building progress:

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: NLSI Teams

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SSERVI Science Teams

  • Observations of the lunar impact plume from the LCROSS event


    McMath‐Pierce telescope observed sodium (Na) emission from LCROSS impact on October 9, 2009.When the Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) impacted Cabeus crater on October 9th, it pitched up frozen water along with some sodium, astronomers reported today.

    According to the LCROSS team, the impact event pitched up about 660 pounds of water frozen on the bottom of the crater. NLSI researcher R. M. Killen at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center reported that the plume also contained about 3.3 pounds of sodium chloride.

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