How will NASA deal with the lunar dust problem?

Mar 19, 2020
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Here's a wild idea. If we can launch rovers to Mars that unpack themselves, then it stands to reason we can launch a landing pad. Why not send multiple rockets to the moon with pieces of a mobile landing pad? I can think of a few designs for this. In the end you'd have a flat surface which in turn would keep lunar dust from shooting up all around the lander.
 
Mar 19, 2020
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Here's a wild idea. If we can launch rovers to Mars that unpack themselves, then it stands to reason we can launch a landing pad. Why not send multiple rockets to the moon with pieces of a mobile landing pad? I can think of a few designs for this. In the end you'd have a flat surface which in turn would keep lunar dust from shooting up all around the lander.
The whole time i'm reading this I'm thinking of much the same thing. Send up automated unfolding land and launch platforms that self level and stabilize. Duh!
 
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Mar 19, 2020
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Why not just send an array of sensors up ahead of time that can auto pilot the lander safely with assistance from the pilot? Could use a variety of sensor types to generate telemetry for this purpose.
 
Seems like a bare-bones rocket with a guidance system could be used to "pre-clean" landing sites. Such a "Landing Site Cleaner" (LSC) could also be a rudimentary lander that hovers over a future landing site (i.e. one for more advanced systems), cleans the site with its exhaust, then keeps sufficient fuel to land the LSC nearby to perhaps provide precision radio guidance to the now large clean site for any future mission, etc. The LSC could be powered by a simple RTG and offer other data, such as local "weather" conditions, etc., in case of some incident(s) which has altered the local landing site condition. One never knows.

Of course orbiters would also be scanning such cleaned sites for their surface characteristics, etc. prior to their future use. Conduct enough of these LSC operations in advance of any missions and the dust will be settled by the time it is needed. Cleaning a landing site rather than providing one makes for a solid area to land that is probably 10x larger than a landing pad, with a guidance system (and memory of the site's topography) right near by.
 
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Dec 3, 2021
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With respect to repeated landings and particulate ejection, I think the use of creators for targeted landing sites would provide a natural barrier between habitats and landing areas. Perhaps, the creator walls could be drilled into to create the "caves" which humans could build habitats within. Separate creators could provide for separate groups with separate missions thus enabling independent environments whom could rescue one another if the need arose.
I think we should examine new landing techniques which do not involve propulsion against the surface of the moon; using propulsion only to leave the surface. This would cut the particulate ejection problem in half.
I must admit, I have no idea what kind of system would be possible in an environment without atmosphere.
 

iconoclast

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Here's a wild idea. If we can launch rovers to Mars that unpack themselves, then it stands to reason we can launch a landing pad. Why not send multiple rockets to the moon with pieces of a mobile landing pad? I can think of a few designs for this. In the end you'd have a flat surface which in turn would keep lunar dust from shooting up all around the lander.

Not enough. The dust gets on spacesuits, and everything else outside the habitat. What is kicked up by rockets is only a small source. And it is extremely dangerous and deadly, it is indeed like millions of tiny tiny daggers, cutting lung tissue, hinges, suits, skin, mechanical controls, etc etc. Everythng is abraided.
 
Working on the moon, and presumably in the future, Mars and elsewhere, will require that everything and everyone go through a decon process much as HazMat workers do here, before entering habitable areas to remove the regolith. No more crawling in the LM and just taking off the spacesuit. And the spacesuits will really need redesign so that it can easily be donned and doffed by the user without two or three helpers like on the ISS.
 

iconoclast

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Working on the moon, and presumably in the future, Mars and elsewhere, will require that everything and everyone go through a decon process much as HazMat workers do here, before entering habitable areas to remove the regolith. No more crawling in the LM and just taking off the spacesuit. And the spacesuits will really need redesign so that it can easily be donned and doffed by the user without two or three helpers like on the ISS.

Some of it will still get in and build up over the years. Mass and power will be at a premium always, so the system will not be too good. And, the dust will affect everything outside, all the hinges, hatches, seals, rovers, solar panels, rockets, etc etc. And especially the decon machines themselves - exposed to the dust and destroyed, then you are screwed. And, I believe NASA has spent about 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars for a new lunar suit design with no results, so you can put paid to that idea.

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iconoclast

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The whole time i'm reading this I'm thinking of much the same thing. Send up automated unfolding land and launch platforms that self level and stabilize. Duh!

10 billion dollars to get that mass to the surface of Mars, and a half decent chance it will crash leaving you nada. And it won't help with the bigger problem of dust from boots, wheels, and especially SANDSTORMS.
 
You’d think by now they would’ve thought of windshield wipers for the rover solar panels, or maybe a small compressor, a tank (long cycle time to fill), and well-placed air nozzles.
 

iconoclast

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You’d think by now they would’ve thought of windshield wipers for the rover solar panels, or maybe a small compressor, a tank (long cycle time to fill), and well-placed air nozzles.
The problem is not getting it off. The problem is that the dust is incredibly abrasive and also dangerous to health. The least of their worries is wiping it off.