Achieving the Science Mission Directorate’s groundbreaking science goals often requires significant technological innovation—e.g., new instruments or cutting-edge capabilities. Each SMD science division—Astrophysics, Biological and Physical Sciences, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science—develops new technologies targeted to enable SMD science. Often, these efforts are accomplished via division-sponsored technology development or mission programs. The directorate also sponsors collaborative workshops where stakeholders examine how innovative technologies can enable Agency missions. In addition, SMD coordinates with other NASA directorates, government agencies, industry, and academia to ensure its research programs and missions have the technology they need to accomplish revolutionary science.
The Apollo missions faced a high risk of dust-related damage to space hardware and astronaut health. Fortunately, NASA researchers have recently determined that lunar dust can be zapped away using a beam of electrons. NASA is exploring use of non-contact, electrostatic, dust-charging technology to protect the Agency’s important space assets without restricting mission parameters.