Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dust On The Moon And Mars

This story (click here) is a comprehensive look at the potential problems astronauts will encounter on Luna and Mars because of the abundance of moisture-free dust on both worlds. I'm thinking future colonists on those worlds run the risk of suffering from off-world versions of Black Lung: Grey and Red Lung perhaps.

Dust turns out to be a serious potential hazard for another reason because without moisture the grains that make up dust remain sharp and when combined with severe winds on Mars equipment could be damaged by long-term exposure. Also the simple matter of digging a hole in low gravity and low or nonexistent atmospheric pressure is an unknown because we don't know how grains behave in that environment as compared to our own. There is so much we don't know about the simplest things off Earth. It's about time we worked on finding them out.

-tdr

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