Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Lose Lunar Dust (Without Losing Your Health)

SpaceToys.com Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

(Hat Tip: Space Transport News)

As any space faring lunar loving citizen will inform you, living on the Moon will not be easy. Not only will one have to deal with radiation and micrometeorites, but also lunar dust (which is not exactly healthy).

Fortunately it looks as if scientists have figured out an innovative way of removing these pesky particles--without have to resort to "air showers."

(New Scientist) To solve the problem, Clark's team is working on SPARCLE, a "lunar dust buster" that astronauts could utilise in the airlock to a moon base. The device consists of a positively charged metallic nozzle fitted to an electron gun, similar to those used in electron microscopes, which fires a focused beam of electrons from a hot filament.

Following a moonwalk, astronauts would scan the beam across the surface of their dirty equipment, showering it with electrons until all the dust particles and the surface become negatively charged and start to repel one another. This would loosen the particles' grip, allowing them to fly to the positively charged nozzle where they are captured.

If NASA found a way to build this within their lunar outposts, they would probably not need to develop fancy human rated rovers, allowing the astronauts to simply explore the Moon's surface without fear of tracking the white powder to the annoyance of all their lunar crew members.

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  1. A man rated rover is a good idea though. Makes a good bolt hole in an emergency, its more comfortable than wearing a suit, and they look cool - see here- http://potentiatenebrasrepellendi.blogspot.com/2009/01/lunar-rover.html. The dust buster is a fantastic idea and its one of the many little things that will make the outpost livable

  2. Thanks for the link Alex! (or is it Alexander?)

    While I do love the Moon rover, NASA may not bee too keen on using it (at least on the first mission) due to cost (as weight in space is expensive).

    If however NASA is successful in establishing an outpost on Luna, I would not be surprised to see NASA ship a few human rated rovers to assist astronauts exploring the surface.


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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