HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), formally establishing a partnership to jointly work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project that will give students the opportunity to develop a space experiment and send it to the surface of the Moon.
The experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) technology. Under the Space Act Agreement, KSC will mentor the selected Hawaii students. This includes consulting them on the physics of the EDS; the design, development, and construction of mounting and integration hardware; and testing and analysis of a flight experiment configuration.
In return, Hawaii high school students* will provide their design and test data to KSC, which could benefit KSC research and design efforts in the area of dust mitigation.
PISCES will help the students construct a lunar lander mockup spacecraft, install and mount the EDS on it, and provide students the use of the Center’s planetary analogue site on the Big Island of Hawaii so they can test their experiment before launching it to the Moon.
Dust is a major problem on the moon because it interferes with and damages space equipment. KSC developed the EDS to remove the dust, but the technology has yet to be tested on the Moon. If this Hawaii high school experiment is successful, to our knowledge, it will be the first time in history that a student experiment has ever been conducted on the lunar surface.
The target date for the launch of this experiment is the end of 2016.
Editor’s Note: PISCES tells me NASA would fly the EDS experiment on a lander being sent to the moon by a Google Lunar X Prize team. The team has not been determined yet.