– Dr. James Mantovani, Florida Tech assistant professor of physics and space sciences, has received a $75,000 NASA
grant to work on an electrodynamic system for self-cleaning solar panels and other surfaces that could be used on future space exploration missions to Mars
and the moon. He joins in this research with the University of Arkansas, Appalachian State University, Oklahoma Baptist University, MIT, NASA Kennedy Space
Center and NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mantovani’s focus will be to develop transparent conductor coatings that are needed for the system. The two-year project will address NASA’s goal to
provide high-efficiency solar cell systems as well as practical dust mitigation techniques for Mars Applications.
The atmosphere on Mars contains significant amounts of suspended dust, especially during Martian dust storms. Dust deposition is known to hinder or damage
mission support equipment, such as solar cells, spacecraft components and lenses. This can reduce the lifetime of a mission.