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Researchers have concluded that the dust on the Moon’s surface there pose serious health risks for lunar colonists.

Researchers have concluded that the dust on the Moon’s surface might pose serious health risks for lunar colonists.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Kelly Starks

    ?? They came to that conclusion decades ago?

  • JohnHunt

    I realize that lunar dust is a significant factor to consider. But the article failed to consider possible remedies. The most straightforward would be for colonists to stay indoors as mug as possible. If thy need to get out and about, doing so telerobotically should be the preferred method. Of you Google “Justin telerobot” you will see an example of a dexterous robot that can do teleoperated repairs.

    There was also no mention of the strategy incorporated in the Constellation plans. This was to leave the suits with their dust outside but for the colonists to back into an airlock, connect, and then crawl through the back of their suit into the indoors.

    Finally, the Apollo suits were not designed to take into consideration past experience of suit exposure to lunar dust. For example, certain parts of the suit (extensor surfaces of joints) could have metal plates that are more durable than textile. I suppose there could even be a removable liner on the outside of the suit that could protect the suit from dust but could also eventually be melted and recreated into a fresh new liner.

    So, whereas there are real issues, we need to be open-minded that there might be engineering solutions as well.

  • Joe

    Nothing in the article is new (in fact has been known for almost fifty years). Additionally (as John Hunt noted) Constellation Systems was working on several solutions to the problem (including the mentioned Suit Port method).

    That in addition to the over the top title “The Moon Is Toxic” makes it sound like a politically motivated attempt to dampen any enthusiasm for a lunar return.

    You often use the term “Uncertainty in Science” to describe this sort of thing. I would suggest another term might be (sometimes as in this case) more appropriate – “Politics in Science”.

  • Kelly Starks

    Actually the dust is also wicked sharp – so it chews up moving parts — so you couldn’t leave the space suits out, they’ld need to much servicing or replacement.

    On the other hand lunar dust also has a slight electric charge – so charging your space suit slightly would drive away the dust.

  • Patrick

    Couldn’t you just hose them off in a special airlock and recycle the water, filtering out the solids? Then as soon as the suits are washed off they are taken inside and dried off right away.

    I’m pretty sure that the suits could be somewhat water proofed. They are already air tight.

  • wade

    have a look at an aggregate of pulverized limestone. very similar characteristics as lunar dust.

  • Kelly Starks

    Not anywhere near as abrasive. Lunar soils kind of a record holder.

  • Patrick

    I can’t see were anything less than a physical wash down would work.

    Nothing will make the suits permanently impervious to the grit of the moon, but I can’t think of a cheaper way to keep it out of any habitation areas on the moon.

    We are really just talking about keeping each suit working for a longer period of time.

    Any inhabited area will just have to have an aggressive air filtering system to catch any free floating particles.

    Basically we just have to take the same precautions as we do now for Silicosis.

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