Dennis White Quills and Nina Rock are exploring different ways to repel lunar dust from spacesuits, along with their physics instructor at BCC, Noel Stewart.

Returning to the moon – that’s the aim of the Artemis Mission, one that will land the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface and will begin establishing a base of operations there for future exploration.

One issue that was discovered in the United States’ earlier lunar missions is the abrasive and problematic properties of lunar dust. Unlike dust on earth, these particles in the moon’s vacuum haven’t been eroded by air and water, creating unlooked-for difficulties for astronauts of the past and future.

“Blackfeet Community College physics students will be researching lunar dust’s chemical and energy composition to find a solution to NASA’s regolith adhesion dilemma by recreating a lunar environment and studying different chemical coatings that will repel lunar dust from an astronaut’s spacesuit,” reads the summary statement from a group of Blackfeet Community College students who entered the NASA Minds Competition.

“This project supports the Artemis Mission by providing evidence (research) into other coatings that could be more beneficial than the ones used today on a spacesuit,” the statement continues. “If there is an opportunity to help create a safer astronaut suit and/or a coating to repel lunar dust, given the Moon’s harsh environment and chemical composition, it is a win for everyone on board the Artemis Mission.”

The BCC team includes Nina Rock and Dennis White Quills. Noel Stewart is their mentor, physics instructor and a prior NASA researcher overseeing their work.

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