Tag Archives: dust

The Moon’s dirtiest secret: Does its dust levitate?

The Moon’s dirtiest secret: Does its dust levitate?

This is a serious mystery left over from the Apollo missions which has significant ramifications not only for future research (the dust would interfere badly with any astronomical observatories) but also for any colonies that are eventually established.

Astronomers have proposed that the cloud of dust that surrounds about 50% of the supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies comes from destroyed planets

Science better than fiction: Astronomers have proposed that the cloud of dust surrounding about 50% of the supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies comes from planets that were ripped apart and smashed by that black hole.

Collisions between these rocky objects would occur at colossal speeds as large as 1000 km per second, continuously shattering and fragmenting the objects, until eventually they end up as microscopic dust. Dr. Nayakshin points out that this harsh environment – radiation and frequent collisions – would make the planets orbiting supermassive black holes sterile, even before they are destroyed. “Too bad for life on these planets”, he says, “but on the other hand the dust created in this way blocks much of the harmful radiation from reaching the rest of the host galaxy. This in turn may make it easier for life to prosper elsewhere in the rest of the central region of the galaxy.”

The battle in Congress of the EPA’s effort to regulate dust

The battle in Congress over the EPA’s effort to regulate dust.

Not surprisingly, the Democrats all support the EPA’s effort, while there are Republicans who oppose. What I consider significant is that more than a hundred agricultural organizations oppose the regulations.

One of the agricultural groups that is supporting the bill [to block the EPA regulations], the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), wrote a letter to the committee last month, saying that a slight raise in overall particulate matter standards would require the EPA to regulate farm dirt under the current standards. “And, for what purpose? Scientific studies have never shown rural dust to be a health concern at ambient levels,” said the NAWG letter. [emphasis mine]