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Spring Verdure Issue (May)


Contribution to moon expeditions by the Kawamoto Laboratory of Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering

Development of a system to eliminate "sand from the moon"

Hiroyuki Kawamoto

The laboratory of Professor Hiroyuki Kawamoto (Department of Applied Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering, Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering) cooperated with America's NASA to perform an experiment in electrostatic manipulation using sand from the moon (lunar dust) which was brought back to earth by Apollo 11. The experiment succeeded in removing the lunar dust, and was successful in substantiating the validity of the particle manipulation system using electrostatic power which was developed by the laboratory.

In recent years, plans for moon exploration are being advanced by countries throughout the world. However, it is predicted that various interference caused by lunar dust, which is fine particles that exist on the surface of the moon, will create problems for these plans. There is the danger of device malfunction when lunar dust falls and accumulates on the top of solar photovoltaic panels. It is also said that lunar dust is harmful when inhaled by astronauts.

The system developed by Kawamoto Laboratory will contribute to the solution of various problems which are predicted to occur on the surface of the moon due to lunar dust, such as device malfunction and health damage to astronauts.

Sand disappears rapidly when the switch is engaged.