STP539: Environmental Control of Lunar Samples in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory

    Reynolds, MA
    Contamination control officer, research analyst, quality engineer, and particle control specialist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex.

    Turner, NL
    Contamination control officer, research analyst, quality engineer, and particle control specialist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex.

    Hurgeton, JC
    Contamination control officer, research analyst, quality engineer, and particle control specialist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex.

    Barbee, MF
    Contamination control officer, research analyst, quality engineer, and particle control specialist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex.

    Flory, DA
    Research associate, University of Houston, Houston, Tex.

    Simoneit, BR
    Specialist, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley,

    Pages: 13    Published: Jan 1973


    Abstract

    The arrival on Earth of samples of lunar rocks presented an unparalleled opportunity to expand man's knowledge of the solar system. Close control of the environment was necessary to maintain the integrity of the lunar material. This started with the development of high vacuum (10−6 to 10−8 torr) processing lines which were constructed of materials that would not interfere with the analyses of the lunar samples, and later (Apollo 14) evolved to the use of high-purity nitrogen filled cabinets or glove boxes when the vacuum lines were abandoned. Trace quantities of oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, and water in the nitrogen processing lines were analyzed. During Apollo 14, analysis at 1 in. negative pressure within cabinets, 02 varied between 25 to 50 ppm, and moisture from 85 to 125 ppm. Following the elimination of quarantine restrictions, Apollo 15 samples were processed at a slight positive pressure which further reduced oxygen to 10 to 30 ppm and moisture to 15 to 25 ppm. Equipment and cabinetry interiors were cleaned consistently to low levels of hydrocarbons and particulate contaminants. The maximum allowable hydrocarbons, C10 through C30 was 10 micrograms per square foot of critical surface and flush samples with particles over 750 µm in size required recleaning. This resulted in providing the scientific community with samples whose integrity had not been compromised during preliminary investigations and allocations.

    Keywords:

    lunar geology, lunar rocks, lunar dust, lunar analysis, moisture meters, gas analysis, gas chromatography, terrestrial contamination, inventory control, glove boxes, contamination, cleaning, particles


    Paper ID: STP36532S

    Committee/Subcommittee: F07.90

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36532S


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