Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah State University Undergraduate Research Showcase


Utah State University

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

JR Dennison, USU Dept. of Physics


A microgravity experiment to test the electrostatic behavior of a lunar dust simulant being charged through the photoelectric effect will expand understanding of the charging characteristics of dust particles and may lead to a possible mitigation solution. With a design based upon Robert Millikan’s oil-drop experiment, this experiment is designed to observe the interactions of a lunar dust simulant without the conflicting effect of a dominant gravitational force. The dust particles will be charged by means of a lamp capable of photon energies necessary to emit electrons by the photoelectric effect. In the presence of an axial electric field, the photo-electrons and charged dust will be attracted to opposing sides of a capacitor and the net charge over time as well as physical trajectories of the particles can be determined.

Although this experiment is not designed to provide a dust mitigation strategy for lunar regolith, an increased understanding of the charging properties of silica by means of the Get Away Special Team’s experiment benefits the scientific community.


Poster presented at Utah State University Undergraduate Research Showcase. PDF available for download from link above.

Acknowledgments: Utah State University, Get Away Special Team; Sydney Chamberlin; NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program; Rocky Mountain NASA Space Grant Consortium

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