The MoonRIDERS mission is to test the effectiveness of the electrodynamic dust shield (EDS).
“This whole week has been a very important part of developing and testing flight hardware for going to the surface of the Moon that we hope to do at the end of 2016,” said PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso. “This is the first opportunity we’ve had to come test it in the field.” In the fall of 2014, the Kealakehe Tiki Techs began work on the Moon Research Investigating Dust Expulsion and Removal Systems project, which is scheduled to be the first school experiment to be performed on the moon. This project is in collaboration with Iolani, PISCES (the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration System out mission), the NASA Kennedy Space Center, and the Google Lunar X-prize. The lunar dust is a concern due to problems with spacesuit fabric and visor abrasion on the previous Apollo missions. Not only is lunar dust a pesky powdery substance with abrasive qualities it exhibits an electrostatic stickiness that jams seals and is potentially damaging to machines and gets stuck to just about everything. The electrodynamics dust shield is used to mitigate the effects of these pesky dust particles. One of the most significant problems with lunar dust is its electric charge which causes it to stick to most surfaces. The Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS) uses this problem to its advantage, using it to get rid of dust. The Kennedy Space Center Electrostatics and Surface Physics Lab has been working to implement this novel technology and test it both on the Earth and Moon. The experiment was not merely observational for the students, as independent development and management of the tests allowed them to accumulate hands-on engineering experience. Data collected from the experiment will prove to be valuable in the future as the experiment continues to prepare its configuration for flight. Now that the tests have been completed, the Moon RIDERS will spend time sifting through their data and writing reports to share the information with NASA and participating Google Lunar XPRIZE teams later in the Spring.