UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigations of the dynamical evolution of lunar ejecta Fladeland, Logan


Humanity is on course to return to the surface of the Moon within the next decade, with plans and aspirations of permanently crewed stations that could eventually become self-sustained through advancements of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). During NASA’s Apollo era, which saw the first and only humans step foot on the Moon, the issue of lunar dust rose to prominence as it was found to be quite abrasive and became coated on practically every type of material. Natural mechanisms have been discovered that can levitate lunar dust and soil above the surface, at times creating a faint haze around the Moon. Increasing lunar surface activity, including potential construction and mining operations, as well as a significant increase in landings and departures, could see large amounts of material artificially jettisoned, if proper mitigation techniques are not introduced. N-body simulations of 10,000 particles ejected from the Moon are performed using REBOUND to examine some of the different dynamical pathways available to material escaping the low lunar gravity. Particles that do not collide with the Moon or the Earth generally end up in orbit around the Earth or escape onto heliocentric orbits, with very few left orbiting the Moon after one year. A constant delivery of particles to the L1 and L2 Earth- Moon Lagrange points is seen, with sporadic activity at the three other Lagrange points. Moreover, the possibility of long-lived dust in the cis-lunar environment raises questions about how lunar activities will impact the night sky. To that end, the particles are projected onto the sky for an observer on Earth and the associated brightness is calculated.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International