Humanity will return to the moon and stay this time. Innovation at the College of Engineering and Computing could be key to Quest’s success.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to build the first ever base camp on the moon. The institution strives to generate scientific discoveries, commercial benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers.
Artemis’ success will depend heavily on protecting its technology, such as its rovers and drilling tools, from the harsh environment of space.
To help with this, the FIU’s Plasma Formation Laboratory has developed an innovative coating material that shields the structure’s movement and rotation points, i.e. cracks in the armor.
A sample of the coating is scheduled to be sent to the International Space Station this fall and installed on an off-site platform for exposure to space. Next, examine the radiation resistance of the coating.
Radiation can interfere with signal processing in electronics and shorten the life of structures.
“By mounting the material on the International Space Station, we can get closer to simulating the real-world radiation that lunar structures are exposed to,” said chair of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Plasma Forming Lab.
FIU’s sample coating is applied to the side of the International Space Station that faces directly toward the sun. Six months later, a crew of astronauts will return the material to Earth for analysis.
“Our team chose direct sunlight because we want the coating to be very aggressive,” says Sara Rengfo ’16, a materials engineer at NASA who has worked with Agarwal on the research.
Scientists at FIU and NASA will carefully observe how the temperature of the coating changes as the space station orbits the Earth. In the meantime, the material is being tested at her FIU and her NASA lab for resistance to lunar dust, tiny rock fragments found abundantly on the moon’s surface. NASA hopes the results of this test will help future missions.
The resulting data may help distributors reduce the need for service and repairs. This research may also have commercial implications in industries where materials are exposed to harsh conditions such as: B. Containment of nuclear waste and production of hypersonic vehicles.
This research is a joint research between public and private institutions. His six panthers, including four interns, are working on the project. FIU is a major academic partner.