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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 Milikan's oil-drop experiment, this experiment is designed to observe the interactions of a lunar dust simulant without the conflicting effects 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.


This work made publicly available electronically on April 16, 2012.

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