Thursday, January 21, 2010

Real science: Physical differences between earth dust & that of moon & Mars

Link. [via Boing Boing]

'Dust is one of the biggest obstacles for long-term lunar and Martian space colonies. On the moon, there’s no atmosphere and no water, so the dust particles don’t get moved around, worn down and rounded like they do on Earth.

Consequently, dust kicked up by rovers and astronauts is “very abrasive and sharp, like freshly broken glass”...

Electrostatic charging from solar winds and UV radiation on the moon makes this sharp dust cling to everything, including astronaut suits where it can work its way through the glove air locks. It also sticks to the solar panels that power rovers and other instruments.

On Mars, which has a thin atmosphere, dust devils scour the surface and keep the soil from being as sharp, but it’s still got plenty of static cling.'

See also.

  1. Hal Clement's "Dust Rag": One of the classics of hard sf, dealing with static charge on Moon dust.