'The Space Lasso'

September 2021 - July 2022

Diver testing tool

Lunar Interactive Banded Restrictive Anchor (LIBRA) is a project done under NASA's Micro-g NExT challenge for Lunar Surface EVA Operations. The objective is to create a device that can anchor/ attach to a rock of various surface types, does not penetrate into the surface, is not externally powered, hand operated, does not use chemical adhesion, weighs less than 5 lbs, fits within a 6 inch diameter and 18 inch long cylinder, withstand 10 lbs of force in any direction, and pick up smaller rocks.

The tool consists of a main box where a fabric band is rolled around a dowel rod. A lever arm portrudes downwards and has a hinge to fold up. At the bottom is the band diverter which transitions the band from a vertical direction to a horizontal direction, which ends in a loop. That loop wraps around the rock, and anchors the rock due to friction. The user holds the tool with one hand from the top and uses the other hand to crank the lever to tighten/ loosen the band.

The tool was primarily made of aluminum and bolted together, along with a polypropylene band. It was constructed by using machining equipment in the Design and Manufacturing Lab at OSU as well as Excelsior. Several prototypes were constructed, with the final being shipped to the National Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, TX.

The Tool

LIBRA's testing was an overall success, though it had some problems. While it was being tested underwater, the band floated, causing issues with the diver testing the tool. Fortunately, the moon has some gravitational force, so that would not be an issue there. Also, in the band diverter at the bottom, there was too much friction between the diverter bolt and the band, causing the band's loosening to be delayed. However, the testing session went very well. A small rock was picked up, and LIBRA was anchored to a large rock, also moving it as the astronaut pulled on it without damaging the tool. The testing session went 4 minutes above the allocated 8 minutes, however.

Team members include Omar Abouzahr, Landon Dowers, Tommy Hosty, John Pippin, and Noah Holt, along with assistance from Dr. Jamey Jacob of OSU.

LIBRA Underwater LIBRA Early Testing