Dust In-situ Manipulation System (DIMS)

PI: Julie Brisset, University of Central Florida

Flight testing of the Dust In-situ Manipulation System (DIMS) aims to determine the system’s ability to create and control clouds of dust in microgravity. This technology builds on previous testing to develop an orbital platform for the scientific investigation of dust particles, which is crucial to understanding the environments of planetary bodies. DIMS will create a 3D image of a dust cloud using high-speed cameras from two different angles. It is designed to overcome current limitations related to the levitation of dust clouds in microgravity including size sorting, preferential particle orientation, hardware constraints, and residual accelerations.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

The study of dust particles in the universe is relevant to numerous fields of research, including astronomy, planetary and atmospheric sciences. In particular, the levitation of dust clouds, for the study of their evolution or interaction with light, is crucial to the understanding of many environments in space (protoplanetary disks, interstellar medium, etc.). However, the challenges of levitating dust clouds in 1g include size sorting due to gravity and preferential particle orientation due to the levitating medium. Cloud levitation in microgravity is also limited by hardware constraints (cell walls) and residual accelerations of the flight platform. The Dust In-situ Manipulation System (DIMS) technology builds on past experiments in order to offer a flexible, long-term microgravity platform for future dust experiments.

Technology Maturation

DIMS will allow for the observation of an undisturbed (no physical contact between grains and test cell walls) dust cloud for several minutes (no cloud shifting), which has never been demonstrated yet. The objective of the test flight with Blue Origin is the demonstration of DIMS functionality and operation under several minutes of microgravity. The dust grains within the cloud will be observed from two different angles using high-speed cameras, thus creating a 3D image of the cloud.

Future Customers

• Solar system exploration and utilization programs for NASA and the commercial space industry
• Research in astrophysics, astrobiology, chemistry, planetary sciences, and atmospheric sciences

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-18 (Aug 2018)
  • 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