The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has requested that university students in the US help the agency find solutions to the issue of dealing with moon (lunar) dust during planned sustainable exploration of the moon. The students submitted ideas through the 2021 competitive Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge and the Space Grant project. Thus far, NASA has awarded nearly $1 million to seven teams in an effort to fund lunar dust mitigation solutions.

According to Niki Werkheiser, the director of technology maturation within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, “Lunar dust affects everything we do on the Moon, so we need many strategies for reducing or preventing its abrasive effects.”The selected teams will develop methods and technologies for both active dust mitigation ( filtration systems) and passive technologies (dust-free landing pads and workspaces). More information on the proposals is available at http://bigidea.nianet.org. The grants will be used to develop and test the technologies in simulated environments. The teams will present the results of their research and development to a panel of NASA and industry experts in November 2021. 4-21