The Magnetic Dust Filtration System (MDFS) is designed to collect and remove lunar dust or particulate matter with grain size ~30µm (exceeding the solicitation requirements) and below from airlocks, suit preparation compartments and other enclosed areas and pressurized compartments. JSC-1A lunar dust simulant used by NASA is highly magnetic (especially so for the small grain size fraction). Both experimental and theoretical studies on soils brought back by Apollo missions suggest that lunar minerals are even more magnetic than their terrestrial analogs and fine fractions of lunar regolith (below 30 µm) are virtually impossible to separate by magnetic means because all fine grains are attracted by magnets. The MDFS will employ either a permanent, electro- or electropermanent magnets used as an additional step of air filtration for small pressurized compartments to eliminate/minimize lunar dust transfer between compartments and to main cabin areas. Currently the airlock systems used on ISS have been decompression pump for removing air from airlocks (up to ~13 kPa) prior to EVA and it is proposed that airlocks are purged with air after the EVA and decompressed to allow the lunar dust particles tracked in to be captured by the magnetic air filter. The MFS functioning will require minimal or no power and will not require frequent replacements.
In the proposed program, a full-scale working model of the MDFS will be built and tested at Pioneer Astronautics lab.
The MFS system is one of the key technologies for establishing human presence on the Moon for the Artemis program. Air filtration and clean breathing air are absolutely necessary for any manned mission, additionally it will protect interior surfaces of the spacecraft and many delicate components from harmful effects of harsh lunar dust.
This technology will can be a resource for future dusty planetary destinations in space exploration
With the advance of commercial spaceflight this technology will be applicable for all manned missions to dusty planetary destinations.
In addition to that, the basis of this technology can become useful in some terrestrial applications where elemental iron-rich particulate can be present: mining that involves naturally occurring magnets and iron containing minerals.