The Moon's mysterious dust


A few other things to consider:

The dust acts very abrasively. Most of the spacesuit seals were damaged as the fabric was abraded within the first 24 hours of exposure. Most would not have lasted another 24 hours in the Lunar environment.

Also, the dust particles are quite small. They are comparable in size to the sort of dust that causes Silicosis.

There are a lot of issues they have to study before we try a longer term landing.

Sorry, but this made me think of “Moon Dust.”

That’s okay. It made me think, “Damn, that moon dust makes Gene Cernan look sex-ay.”


My impression was that the low gravity, lack of water, and almost nonexistent atmosphere means rock particles rarely abrade against one another. This means they are much more likely to retain their sharp edges from when they broke off of their original rock, which makes it closer to glass dust than what we consider traditional sand.

We see a similar thing on Earth, to a lesser degree, with beach sand versus desert sand. In the desert the constant wind wears down the dust into smooth spheres which makes it feel relatively nice. Beach sand on the other hand is protected by the water and retains the sharp edges, making it much less kind to the skin.

The good news is that Mars should have somewhat less noxious soil since there is enough atmosphere to move particles around and smooth them out.

You might want to pick up his book then: The Last Man on the Moon. Very personal and doesn’t pull a lot of punches on an era that too often gets glossed over as “everyone worked really swell together!” I didn’t always agree with him (especially the part not using scientists as astronauts because other pilots “deserved” a trip to the moon more) but it’s good insight to the era.

The look on Gene’s face is caused by continually having to intervene in arguments between his LMP Harrison Schmitt and mission control.

The unknown about Mars is how chemically active the soil is. Remember, the Viking results for Mars showed a chemical reaction to water. If the soil has a high percentage of superoxides, then it will be likely unihabitable.

…without chemical treatment of the soil.

It’s also a very good Portal conductor.

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I had to spend ten minutes looking up a novel I read AGES ago that had a plot involving moon dust, specifically about a passenger boat type thing that somehow sank in a lake of moondust. It was a fun read, I loved all the ideas they came up with in it (okay, it was just Clarke and his sources, but still. .fun!)

and it gives you lemons

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