The iconic Apollo missions are known by many people. It is likely that most people who think about them are aware of the fact that the astronauts faced some hardships. But few would expect that one of them is dust. We aren’t talking about the average dust found in a household. The problems were caused by lunar dust.
After each trip on the surface, the astronauts battled with the lunar dust upon returning to the Apollo lunar module. A large amount of dust tended to accumulate on their boots and suits. Major issues stemmed from the fact that the dust was sticky and quite abrasive, traits which allowed to compromise valuable equipment, including the helmet visors and the pressure seals which made the suits usable.
There was also the problem of physical harm since the dust was able to irritate their eyes and find its way across the spacecraft.
Lunar Dust Could Hamper The Future Moon Missions
All the astronauts who explored the surface of the moon struggled with the dust. They attempted to clean their suits with a variety of tools, including brushes, dry and wet rags and a low-power vacuum cleaner which was described as being useless.
As private companies and state agencies aim to reach out a satellite, the experience of the Apollo missions has become relevant again. The Chang’e-4 probe sent by China on the dark side of the moon is the first step in the plan to build a complete lunar research station. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has also announced a partnership with Toyota, to develop a new rover.
In March 2019 Vice President Mike announced that the Trump administration would push new lunar missions, to reach the moon by 2014. Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, has also stated that the main goal is to establish a permanent base which could be very practical in the long run. It remains to be seen if the new missions will use an effective strategy against the dust.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.