Moon dust could ruin space travel for everyone

the moon
Credit: Thangaraj Kumaravel via Flickr

Have you ever noticed that big cloud of dust around the moon that makes it nearly impossible to see our lunar friend clearly in the night sky?

Of course you haven't; moon dust is not detectable to the naked Earthbound eye. But researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder have determined that the pelting of its surface by countless numbers of comet dust particles has created a "permanent, asymmetric dust cloud around the Moon."

Publishing their work in the online journal Nature, the scientists write, "We expect all airless planetary objects to be immersed in similar tenuous clouds of dust."

What a messy universe we live in! Worse, even the most effective air purifier won't work in an airless environment. 

Mihaly Horányi, lead author of the study, "A permanent, asymmetric dust cloud around the Moon," tells Quartz that "we're really talking about very small particles." But:

“I think there is a concern about the long-duration exposure to dust impacts, and what happens with mirrors and mechanical devices [in space].”

It's probably similar to the challenges of keeping equipment running in a windy, desert environment. Sand gets into everything! Except, when that stuff happens in space, UPS isn't going to deliver replacement parts overnight.

This story, "Moon dust could ruin space travel for everyone" was originally published by Fritterati.

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