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The Dust is Settled?: Lunar Dust ‘Stickiness’ Influenced By Sun’s Elevation April 21, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Apollo, lunar land use planning, Lunar Surface Systems Workshop, NASA.
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A new study of old dusted-off data has shown that lunar dust’s stickiness varies with the elevation of the sun.

75-year-old Australian scientist Brian O’Brien compiled the study by himself over a period of two years. By studying the data of the dust collection on various instruments and when it fell off, he determined that the sun’s rays affected the forces keeping the dust attached to the objects.

Lunar dust is quite the nuisance, and generally the greatest hazard on the Moon—causing equipment to overheat and posing a health threat to astronauts should it get inside working spaces. So, any knowledge towards solving the lunar dust issue is a huge boon to lunar planning of any variety. Check out the news release for the full skinny on O’Briens story and how he made his conclusions.

O’Brien offers a straightforward solution to the problem—a sun-proof shed to shadow lunar operations from the sun’s rays, therefore reducing the stickiness of the dust.

According to Leonard David over at the Space Coalition blog, O’Brien says that “more surprising findings from his studies are on the way”, so stay tuned…

For more on lunar dust solutions, keep an eye on my Lunar Surface Systems Workshop coverage, as several presentations from that forum offer neat concepts and scenarios for dealing with various dust issues.

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