NASA technologists have developed a low-cost, low-mass technique for protecting sensitive spacecraft components from outgassed contaminants.

The team has created a patent-pending, sprayable paint that adsorbs the gaseous molecules and stops them from affixing to instrument components. Made of zeolite, a mineral widely used in industry for water purification and other uses, and a colloidal silica binder that acts as the glue holding the coating together, the new molecular adsorber is highly permeable and porous — attributes that trap the outgassed contaminants. Because it doesn’t contain volatile organics, the material itself doesn’t cause additional outgassing.

Because technicians can spray the paint directly onto surfaces, no extra mounting equipment is necessary. In addition, technicians can coat adhesive strips or tape and then place these pieces in strategic locations within an instrument, spacecraft cavity, or vacuum system, further simplifying adsorber design.

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