Author Topic: Extravehicular Activity Asteroid Exploration and Sample Collection Capability  (Read 1922 times)

Offline rdale

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One of the challenging primary objectives associated with NASA's Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM) is to demonstrate deep space Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and tools and to obtain asteroid samples to return to Earth for further study. Prior Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) spacewalks have benefited from engineered EVA interfaces which have been designed and manufactured on Earth. Rigid structurally mounted handrails, and tools with customized interfaces and restraints optimize EVA performance. For ARCM, EVA complexity increases due to the uncertainty of the asteroid properties. The variability of rock size, shape and composition, as well as behavior of the asteroid capture mechanism will complicate EVA translation, tool restraint, and body stabilization. The unknown asteroid hardness and brittleness will complicate tool use. The rock surface will introduce added safety concerns for cut gloves and debris control. Feasible solutions to meet ARCM EVA objectives were identified using experience gained during Apollo, Shuttle, and ISS EVAs, terrestrial mountaineering practices, NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 16 mission, and during Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory testing in the Modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit (MACES) suit. This paper will summarize the overall operational concepts for conducting EVAs for the ARCM mission including translation paths and body restraint methods, potential tools used to extract the samples, design implications for the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle (ARV) for EVA, and the results of early development testing of potential EVA tasks.