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T0204-S

Dust In-situ Manipulation System (DIMS)

PI: Julie Brisset, University of Central Florida

The objective of this flight demonstration with Blue Origin is the demonstration of the "Dust In-situ Manipulation System" (DIMS) functionality and operation under several minutes of microgravity. The DIMS technology builds on past experiments in order to offer a flexible, long-term microgravity platform for future dust experiments. Dust grains within the cloud will be observed from two different angles using high-speed cameras, thus creating a 3D image of the cloud. The generation, trapping, and controlled motion of a dust cloud inside the DIMS payload completes one experiment run and will last 40s. During the 3 minutes of microgravity provided by the Blue Origin flight, four experiment runs will test DIMS operations at three different dust types and two different gas pressures.

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

The demonstration of the DIMS technology in long-term microgravity conditions (suborbital flight) will result in a new research tool that can be used in the future, both on suborbital flights and on orbital platforms, such as the International Space Station (ISS) or a SmallSat. DIMS addresses several goals and core questions of the 2018 NASA strategic plan, as well as the astrophysics, planetary sciences, and atmospheric sciences decadal surveys.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-18 (Aug 2018)
  • Program Status
    Active
  • Current TRL (?)
    Unknown
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

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