January 11, 2018 – Dr. Esther Beltran- Deputy Director and Scientist for the New NASA SSERVI Award “REVEALS “explains:
Kickoff of the new NASA-SSERVI team REVEALS (Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces) took place at Georgia Tech August 14-15th, 2017.
REVEALS, with a budget of $5.5 Million, leverages a cohesive interdisciplinary team of investigators to provide an integrated systems-level approach to understanding global effects of radiation from the chemical evolution of volatiles to human protection in future space missions. This newly awarded SSERVI team will provide a resource for many other opportunities to explore our solar system.
As a member of SSERVI, REVEALS team will explore the fundamental, applied, and operational aspects correlated with radiation processing of natural regolith and man-made composite materials.
The interaction of ionizing radiation and micro-meteorites impactors on celestial surfaces can supply a varied amount of volatiles that can be relevant for “in situ resource utilization” (ISRU), e.g. water, methane. Also the constant radiation assault poses clear risks for humans. These risks must be understood, quantified, and mitigated to provide space crew safety operations for humans to be able to conduct their missions. These factors are taken into consideration in this new SSERVI REVEALS node by the development of effective shielding materials, real time radiation detection systems, and radiation-hardened human habitats and spacesuits.
Projects already started on REVEALS are: Production of volatiles via solar-wind-proton-beam bombardment of regolith simulants- B. Jones (GT). Measuring diffusion rates of water, hydrogen, and methane in regolith simulants- P. Loutzenhiser (GT). Laser-based micrometeorite accelerator- B. Jones (GT). Thermally induced water formation via recombinative desorption of model alumina silicate surfaces- W. Kaden (UCF). New polymer composites for space suits- J. Reynolds (GT)/ V .La Saponara (UC-Davis). 2-D graphene devices –radiation detection- P. First (GT).
Below is an image of Dr. Kaden and graduate student B. Dhar of the experiments conducted at UCF-Physics Department.