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SuitLocks – A bad Idea

The Advanced Design group has been parading models of “Suit Locks” lately. The concept is that the outside of the suit stays outside and connects to the outside of the habitat or rover, and the life support pack unhooks, and the astronaut climbs into and out of the suit through the backpack opening. They are hooked up to the latest fancy Moon Rover. and seem to be their preferred solution to isolating the Moon Dust from getting inside any Moon habitat.
I think they are a bad idea.
If I recall, the Apollo 17 astronauts spent the last couple of days on the Moon patching, repairing, and trying to clean their space suits. It wasn’t that they were bad suits – it is just that the Lunar environment is holy terror on suits. The dust is more abrasive than anything we have ever experienced on Earth, it is finer, and corrosive and holds a wicked static charge, so it creeps over every surface, and is un-weathered, so all the edges are sharp as razor blades. And that goes for the edges and surfaces of boulders and rocks that pepper the surface of the Moon, too. A suit – no matter how good – will get cut, abraded, infiltrated, and worn out on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Astronauts will fall down, rub up against the rocks and boulders, kneel on the Lunar surface, and tear up their gloves on equipment and Lunar rocks on a regular basis. The piece of equipment MOST OFTEN in contact with, and abused by the Lunar surface and dust, will be the space suit. And it will be the article that will be in need of repair most often.
Yet, if it is hung on the outside of the habitat or rover – how will it be brought back in, to be repaired or cleaned?
If you tear your glove and it means your life in order to get isolated inside the habitat, how willing will you be to trust your life that the mating surfaces between the habitat and the back of the suit lock will be clean and airtight on the first try?
And heaven forbid if your suit leg gets torn or a patch blows out. Will your buddies let you hook up to the habitat with a torn open hole in the fabric that separates them from vacuum?
Because there is no provision for bringing the suit inside and repairing and cleaning it, when it does need to be brought in, there will be that much more opportunity for dust to get everywhere and clog up and abrade things it shouldn’t.
Personally, I think that the design of the rover and the habitat should start with the activity they will be spending the most time doing, and that will be more important to their lives than anything else they do on a regular basis. They should start with the workshop where they will have to clean and repair their space suits, and design everything around that.

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