Maturing Ejecta STORM for Lunar Delivery

PI: Philip Metzger, University of Central Florida, Tristan Cembrinski (Co-I), Masten Space Systems Inc.

When exploration vehicles land on the Moon, rocket plumes create regolith ejecta and cratering that can be deleterious to the lander and surrounding structures. To understand these effects, researchers must develop empirically based models for soil erosion rate and size distribution of particles resulting from the landing plume. The four-laser Ejecta STORM instrument measures the density and sizes of particles during terrestrial simulations of lunar landings. This research is expected to inform model development, enabling the creation of effective, realistic mitigation plans.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA09 Entry, Descent and Landing Systems
Problem Statement

There is an outstanding need for empirically derived equations describing the soil erosion rate and resulting particle size distributions of lunar landing plume-induced ejecta. Improving modeling efforts would enable the creation of realistic mitigation plans. This experiment will test the Ejecta Sheet Tracking, Opacity, and Regolith Maturity (STORM) instrument’s ability to measure regolith ejecta particle velocities and size distributions.

Technology Maturation

The Ejecta STORM is currently at TRL 4/5 and exists as a breadboard prototype that has been validated in the lab and in a partially relevant environment. The flight program will attempt to demonstrate (1) integration with a lander and (2) operation in flight conditions with simulated lunar plume effects. It is expected to advance to TRL 6 postflight.

Future Customers

• NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions
• Rover-based planetary science missions
• Crewed missions to the Moon and other bodies
• Lunar in-situ resource utilization efforts

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights19 (Oct 2019)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: November 16, 2018