Moon Dust Is Super Toxic

In space, they say, no one can hear you sneeze. But Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt was doing a lot of that inside the Challenger command module when he visited the moon in 1972. One day, after a lunar walk, Schmitt accidentally breathed in some of the abundant moon dust that he and his commander had tracked back in to the Challenger living quarters. For a full day, Schmitt suffered from what he described as “lunar hay fever.” His eyes watered, his throat throbbed, and he broke into a sneezing fit. Dust on the moon behaves a little differently than dust on Earth. For starters, it’s sharp. Because there’s no wind on the moon, the dust never erodes. Instead, grains of moon dust — which are largely the products of micrometeorite impacts — remain sharp and abrasive and can easily slice into an astronaut’s lung cells if breathed in too deeply. In several lab tests, a single scoop of moon dust proved toxic enough to kill up to 90 percent of the lung and brain cells exposed to it. Cells that weren’t decimated outright showed signs of DNA damage that could lead to diseases. Because of zero atmosphere and little gravity Moon dust actually floats above the surface on our neighboring satellite…..Ed
Source: Brandon Specktor /Photo:NASA

Posted in All Stories, Ed McMahon

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