Thursday, March 15, 2007

How To Lose Lunar Dust (In Three Ways) Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
Although not toxic, lunar dust can irritate an astronaut to death (or at least cause major harm), an unfortunate side effect that future colonists will have to deal with.

Some scientists have suggested melting the surface in order to keep the dust from causing potential harm, but others seems to have suggested more practical ways at keeping the dust out of future living spaces.

(New Scientist Space) So the agency plans to set up an airlock on the first lunar trips, which are expected to last just a week. That way, astronauts can take off their spacesuits and boots in a sort of 'mudroom' or entryway without tracking dust into their living quarters.

The airlocks on subsequent missions will become more advanced, with metal gratings outside them to collect lunar soil, or regolith. Inside, they may also be fitted with "air showers", wherein blasts of air from above whisk dust to a grated floor below – just like those used outside of cleanrooms on Earth.

These measures could help remove 90 to 95% of the dust coming into the spacecraft, Kennedy told New Scientist.

Despite being effective, NASA is interested in removing 99.99% of the dust (if not all of it) so other ingenious ideas have been suggested. One idea, is to take a magnetic wand and remove the finer grains of moon dust off of the astronauts suits. A more reasonable approach may also be using an air blower to force all of the dust off, which may be more effective than magnets and perhaps much cheaper as well.

A fourth suggestion was to simply coat the suit with liquid CO2, which is used to clean telescopes and photocopiers. Despite its proven success on Earth, NASA is loathed to care on any more weight than necessary towards the Moon (as liquids can be heavy), so that idea will probably get shot down early on in the drawing boards.

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1 comment:

  1. I suspect permanent stations on the moon will use a combination of methods (grates, blowers, magnets) to remove dust.

    Plus segregating the 'airlock' compartments airco equipment from the rest of the habitat with some really good filters so the fines don't blow all over the place.

    This rather reminds me of the procedures used to enter a microchip fabs clean room.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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