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Research proposal for MDRS-123.

Emma Braegen, January 2013. 

Aim

o test the potential of using coveralls over space suits as a method to reduce dust contamination to inside the habitat unit and prevent space suit damage and, to characterize the dust particle size distribution and mass brought inside in space suits and compare to outside HAB dust particle size distribution. 

Equipment

Painting coveralls from hardware store and/or New Zealand Biosecurity suits.

Background

Dust contamination is a serious problem on Mars since it can be a health hazard to people and cause damage to equipment. Using additional barriers such as covers for space suits could help reduce the amount of dust getting into buildings and prevent it from damaging space suits.

Method

Painting coveralls and/or New Zealand Biosecurity suits will be used to fit over the top of the existing space suits. The coveralls may require some modification to fit over the suits. The modifications could involve trimming and sewing or using electrical tape on the coveralls. Any modifications would be for the painting coveralls only since the Biosecurity suits need to stay as is. No modification to the space suits should be necessary.

Once a method of fitting the suits is found several EVAs will be performed while wearing the coveralls. The EVAs will be used to determine how practical it is wearing the coveralls over the space suits and if they are useful in preventing dust (and possibly other foreign material) from getting into the habitat.

The EVAs should involve a variety of different activities such as walking, using the ATVs and performing research tasks such as collecting geology samples.

Using the coveralls on the space suits could be easily incorporated into other projects that require EVAs.

We will collect from the overalls at the end of EVAs and characterize the dust size distribution and mass that enter the Hab on the suits. The dust particle size distribution taken from the overalls will be compared to the dust particle size distribution collected in the areas worked during EVA. The dust particle size distribution and quantity collected from the overalls may vary with different overall materials but we will not assess this issue.

Analysis

Dust collected from the overalls and in the areas worked outside will be characterized at NASA Ames using a dust particle size distribution instrument. Dust mass collected from the overalls will also be measured.  The analysis will also include subjective observations by the users and others on the EVA. The analysis will be mainly subjective and include observations by the users and others on the EVA. Photos may also be used to document tasks and show how the coveralls are working. Photos could also be used to record how much contamination occurs in the habitat over time and compare any differences between operation between space suits with and without the coveralls.

Potential Human Impact/Ethics Issues

Coveralls may be awkward and inconvenient to use. Using the coveralls while performing other research could be distracting or cause difficulty. People wearing the coveralls would be required to answer questions about how their mobility was impacted, how comfortable they were, how easy it is to put on and off and if they felt they were effective in reducing contamination.

Reference Material

Dust Mitigation Solutions for Lunar and Mars Surface Systems

Dave Cadogan, Janet Ferl, 2007

 

Comments Jon Clarke

It might be worth attaching some strong double sided tape on to different parts of the suits/coveralls (say forearm, upper arm, chest, upper and lower leg) and doing some dust counts on the number of particles per cm2 at the end of the rotation, using the binocular microscope.  You would need to keep a log of the number of hours each suit was used

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