Apollo 11 Mission

Science Experiments - Lunar Dust Detector

A closeup of the Passive SeismometerPassive seismic experiment package deployed configuration


Prior to the Apollo landings, it was thought that there would be a heavy dust layer deposited on the experiment packages during Lunar Module ascent and possibly from other long-term sources. This experiment was designed to measure this dust layer deposition and was performed on Apollo 11, 12, 14, and 15. On Apollo 11, it was attached to the Passive Seismic Experiment and measured the power output from a set of solar cells. The dust accumulation proved to be much lower than expected, and the results from this experiment were also used to monitor the long-term degradation of solar cells from radiation and thermal effects. This was considered to be an engineering rather than a scientific experiment.