Development and Characterization of an Ion Source to Simulate Solar Wind Plasma in a Vacuum Chamber
As NASA and the United States look to return to the Moon with the upcoming Artemis Mission, many questions must first be answered. One of the more pressing issues with our return to the Moon is the environment that we will be looking to have extended missions on and one day mine. The Moon’s environment includes dusty plasma, i.e., plasma with fine regolith grains in it, and thus presents a danger to equipment and astronauts alike. In an attempt to learn more about the lunar environment, the Gas and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory (GPDL) at Missouri University of Science and Technology has begun preparing its facilities for experimentation. In this vain, an RF generated ion source has been fully integrated into the facility’s large scale vacuum chamber. Preliminary tests have been done with this RF source to show its functionality. In addition, an experimental analysis of the vacuum chamber’s four diffusion pumps has been done to determine the settling chamber pressure at various gas flow rates for each usable pump configuration. The mean free path was then calculated for each of these pump configurations in order to ensure the validity of the chamber’s experimental environment. At the conclusion of this work, the facility is ready for the installations of a full diagnostic probe array and will soon be ready for work with lunar regolith simulants.
B. A. Folta et al., "Development and Characterization of an Ion Source to Simulate Solar Wind Plasma in a Vacuum Chamber," Proceedings of the AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum (2020, Orlando, FL), pp. 1-8, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Jan 2020.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2020-0048
AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum (2020: Jan. 6-10, Orlando, FL)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Center for High Performance Computing Research
International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
Article - Conference proceedings
© 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.
10 Jan 2020