Conserving the Lunar Roving Vehicle

The first phase in any conservation procedure is a complete evaluation. A penned report, full with considerable images is required to guarantee that the problem is fully documented and that areas of deterioration are determined. Consultation with the curator served tutorial the treatment method and recognize initial and non-original components. Some of the issue troubles determined included considerable surface soiling, discoloration of sure elements, staining, small corrosion of metallic features, failing adhesives, and tears in delicate products.

Just after curatorial acceptance, the conservation procedure commenced. An in-depth cleaning was adopted by many cure actions these types of as Velcro stabilization, glass consolidation, and stain reduction between others. Two spots have been of exclusive curiosity in the course of the therapy: the damaged Kapton and the ripped large attain antenna.

Cleansing the lunar rover’s wheel supports with swabs and solvents to take away dust and grime. (Smithsonian Institution)

Kapton is a polyimide movie that is secure in the harsh surroundings of space and can endure temperatures ranging from -452 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit. This gold-coloured content covers the lunar communications relay unit on the entrance of the LRV and some of the wiring. Although this light-weight, reflective material serves its objective of dissipating radiation in place, it was not meant to maintain up for decades on Earth. Tears in the Kapton on the lunar communications relay device and the failing adhesive layer of the Kapton tape encompassing the wire bundle had been the principal regions of concern. To avert further hurt and prospective reduction to the Kapton and Kapton tape, a stabilizing treatment was necessary. The acrylic, thermoplastic resin Paraloid B-72 was applied by brush to the underside of the lifted locations to stabilize the skinny substance. When utilized, the Kapton was held in area right until the adhesive dried to guarantee proper alignment. The end result of this sort of a procedure was a stable surface area no more time in threat of loss or detachment.

In advance of therapy ailment of the Kapton tape- be aware the grime and lifting Kapton tape (gold-coloured materials) encompassing the wire bundle. (Smithsonian Institution)
Immediately after therapy affliction of the Kapton tape- take note the stabilized Kapton tape (gold-colored materials) and cleaned surfaces. (Smithsonian Establishment)

Like the Kapton, the large gain antenna wanted stabilization. It is composed of a collapsible steel body with a fragile, slim mesh. The substantial gain antennas for flown LRVs were being composed of a gold mesh, even so, the one particular on the qualification take a look at unit is of a different, unidentified materials. However, tears, small losses, and just one disfiguring previous mend compromised the structural integrity of the mesh. To reinstate planarity and stability, the aged mend was eliminated, and plans had been devised for a a lot more discreet but archival mending system. Adhesive and mechanical mending strategies had been regarded as to maintenance the damages, but patching with adhesive procedures had the likely to draw in dust and would have been very seen. As a result, stitching was the preferred solution. Polyester thread was chosen, and the tears fixed. Little parts of nylon web backing secured with stitching delivered assist to places of decline. This move of the remedy examined my eyesight as the mesh and thread ended up so thin. A sheet of Tyvek draped behind the mesh offered the color distinction necessary to aid me see what I was undertaking.