Two Hawaii schools selected for lunar project with NASA

Two Hawaii schools selected for lunar project with NASA
Published: Feb. 20, 2015 at 10:25 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2015 at 5:15 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Students at two Hawaii schools are embarking on a new space mission. They're teaming up with NASA on an experiment that is heading to the moon. Students at Iolani School and Kealakehe High School have been working on the lunar project for months now. NASA developed the electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) to repel pesky planetary dust that gathers on space gear. The technology, which uses electricity to clear off surfaces, hasn't been tested yet in space.

"The dust on the moon is very sharp and scratchy so during NASA's Apollo experience they found that the astronauts were coming back with visors that they basically couldn't see out of because it had gotten so dusted up and scratched up when they tried to wipe them off," explained Iolani teacher Gilson Killhour.

The project involves NASA, the two schools, the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and a Google Lunar XPRIZE team. Each campus built a mockup lander and designed a frame for the dust shield.

"It's a very unique opportunity that's probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I'm glad I was able to jump on it and be able to participate," said Iolani senior Keegan McCrary.

"If they do make it to the moon, they'll test their own test for Google and then they'll test ours, which is the EDS. They'll have the rover, which is back there, and it will circle around and video," said Iolani senior Veronica Shei.

The students will test their experiment at a PISCES site high atop Mauna Kea next month.

"We'll actually be running some tests with high velocity air and blowing the dust around and actually testing the electrodynamic dust shield in a moon-like environment," Killhour said.

"Just having the opportunity to work on something that's going to be going to the moon is one of the most exciting things you can possibly even think about doing in high school," said Iolani senior Kimberly Peterson.

The experiment is expected to head to the moon aboard a Google Lunar XPRIZE team spacecraft by the end of next year.

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