Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Moon Dust, NASA's Dirty Little Secret

The trouble with not doing something for 30 some odd years and then doing it again is that facts that were obvious then have been forgotten due to lack of use now. Take for example an article in Science Daily. Apollo astronauts has a major issue with Moon dust. It was as fine as flour and rough as sandpaper, Moon dust caused ‘lunar hay fever,’ problems with space suits, and dust storms in the crew cabin upon returning to space. During the Apollo 17 mission, for example, crewmembers Harrison “Jack” Schmitt and Gene Cernan had trouble moving their arms during moonwalks because dust had gummed up the joints. The dust was so abrasive that it actually wore through three layers of Kevlar-like material on Jack Schmitt's boot. The material is also so static laden that it sticks and coats everything it touches. Because of the dust's high iron content, preliminary studies suggest that the inhalation of lunar dust may pose a health hazard, possibly including iron toxicity. These and many other problems with the Lunar environment need to be addressed for any long term occupation can take place.

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