MoonRIDERS kick off field tests for lunar experiment

17-Mar-2015

Iolani and Kealakehe High students in the MoonRIDERS project (a partnership with NASA and PISCES) are spending their Spring Break readying dust shields to see if they can withstand conditions of a lunar landing. They'll be testing on the slopes of Mauna Kea at the PISCES Planetary Analogue Test Site.

​​​​Testing will take place on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea at the PISCES Planetary Analogue Test Site, allowing students a unique opportunity to experience being a NASA scientist first-hand.

Mock lunar landers constructed by ‘Iolani and Kealakehe High students will be lifted (using a come-along pulley), then touch down, at which time a gas cylinder will blast high-velocity air to simulate the dust plume kicked up by a lunar lander on the moon. Upon touching down, students will power up their electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) prototype to determine how well it protects key components from dust. The EDS will be mounted on a camera to see how well it removes dust from the camera lens, as well as an EDS mounted on the foot pad of their lander. 

Students will repeat the process, changing variables each time, to help determine what works best under different dust conditions. (To see the conditions the students are testing against, watch this video of an actual NASA lunar lander being tested.)

Kealakehe High students will be testing on Friday and Saturday. 

About MoonRIDERS​​​

In February, Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island, and `Iolani School in Honolulu on Oahu, were selected to participate in an unprecedented student project to develop, build, test, and fly a real-life lunar experiment to the surface of the moon. (See release​)

The experiment is expected to leave the launchpad in late 2016 aboard a Google Lunar XPRIZE team spacecraft.​


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