Thermal Optical Properties of Lunar Dust Simulants and Their Constituents

  • Gaier J
  • Ellis S
  • Hanks N
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The total reflectance spectra of lunar simulant dusts (less than 20 micrometer particles) were measured in order to determine their integrated solar absorptance (alpha) and their thermal emittance (e) for the purpose of analyzing the effect of dust on the performance of thermal control surfaces. All of the simulants except one had a wavelength-dependant reflectivity (p(lambda)) near 0.10 over the wavelength range of 8 to 25 micrometers, and so are highly emitting at room temperature and lower. The 300 K emittance (epsilon) of all the lunar simulants except one ranged from 0.78 to 0.92. The exception was Minnesota Lunar Simulant 1 (MLS-1), which has little or no glassy component. In all cases the epsilon was lower for the less 20 micrometer particles than for larger particles reported earlier. There was considerably more variation in the lunar simulant reflectance in the solar spectral range (250 to 2500 nanometers) than in the thermal infrared. As expected, the lunar highlands simulants were more reflective in this wavelength range than the lunar mare simulants. The integrated solar absorptance (alpha) of the simulants ranged from 0.39 to 0.75. This is lower than values reported earlier for larger particles of the same simulants (0.41 to 0.82), and for representative mare and highlands lunar soils (0.74 to 0.91). Since the alpha of some mare simulants more closely matched that of highlands lunar soils, it is recommended that and values be the criteria for choosing a simulant for assessing the effects of dust on thermal control surfaces, rather than whether a simulant has been formulated as a highlands or a mare simulant.

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  • James R. Gaier

  • Shaneise Ellis

  • Nichole Hanks

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