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'Lunar lawnmower' to Deal with Moon Dust Menace

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posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 03:31 PM
Astronauts traveling to the Moon will have to deal with the big problem of little dust particles. Lunar dust plagued the Apollo astronauts, getting into their space suit seals and contaminating the lunar module. Some Astronauts reported eye and throat irritation caused by the dust. Looking for a way to avoid repeating this problem, geologist Lawrence Taylor has developed the idea of a 'Lunar Lawnmower' using microwaves to cause the lunar dust particles to clump together, making it harder for the dust to spread.
Astronauts who think joining a lunar colony would mean no more Earthly chores should reconsider. One important task for any future Moon residents could well be mowing the lunar lawn.

NASA plans to return people to the Moon as early as 2018 and lunar dust is likely to be a major problem for future missions. The Apollo missions ran from 1961 to 1972, and from the moment Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon in 1969, lunar astronauts have complained of dust sticking to their space suits and getting into seals. Several even reported respiratory problems and itchy eyes as a result of exposure to dust carried into lunar landers. The dust also caused problems for mechanical and electronic equipment.

Fortunately for future colonists, Lawrence Taylor, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee, US, has devised a way to combat this Moon menace - a "lunar lawnmower". In place of whirling blades, however, the machine would use microwaves to force dust particles to clump together.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I can picture it now, lunar highways made by melting the lunar dust into a glassy road bed.
I wonder if they will look into this technology for possible lunar construction as well. They may make a sort of lunar concrete brick by heating the dust in a brick like mold.
Something to think about, anyway...

[edit on 19-11-2005 by asala]

posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 08:57 PM
I guess I'm the only one interested in this story...

I didn't know I was so unique.

posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 09:03 PM
Know how you feel.

I voted yes, but - not sure what I think about the idea. Seems like it may be yet another case of mucking with things we don't understand to maybe cause effects we didn't anticipate.

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 03:38 AM
At least someone is thinking of ways to tackle the problem.

The dust is more than a nuisance, ..It's pretty rough on the lungs.

Don't forget, the dust is mostly a product of impacts.
Shattered particles, never weathered by wind, or water.
They're like tiny little knives. All the original sharp surfaces
still intact.

It could really wreak havoc on your soft tissues.

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 01:42 PM
I guess this thread is going to die a cruel death...

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 01:48 PM
You could respond to my previous post.
You might get some dialog going.
Read up a little on the subject, and add some info here.

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 02:17 PM
First I'd like to say, spacedoubt, you are absolutely right. Both in your take on the composition of the lunar soil, and my responding to your post

I feel like I'll sound like I'm staring into a crystal ball, but here goes...

Ok, here's my vision for lunar construction:

First off, you need to use a robotic "first wave" in the contruction process. Unmanned equipment, sent to the moon, to begin the basic layout and grading of the future base site.

I see a tracked vehicle with a rotating digging arm that picks up the loose surface soil and deposits it onto a moving conveyor belt. This belt runs through a sort of "microwave furnace" that would melt the iron content of the soil, reducing the sharp edges of the soil material, allowing it to be more easily handled (so it wouldn't be as abrasive and prevent added wear and tear on the construction equipment).

From here we could go to one of two methods of construction. Material could be pressed into bricks (similar to how pills are made) or it could be "baked" in a microwave oven into a convinient shape for construction.

Another method could be to cover a half buried inflatable structure with the regolith and use a vehicle mounted "microwave gun" to heat the outside layer of the regolith covered structure. Another, smaller machine, could be used on the inside of the structure for the same purpose. This would help out with both rigidity of the structure, and protection from solar and cosmic radiation.

Until basic shelters are in place, manned presence on the moon will always be a very temporary endeavor.

I don't know...maybe I'm just babbling.

[edit on 17-11-2005 by BomSquad]

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 02:26 PM
You know, I remember seeing something about this on the Discovery channel.

Wasn't there a researcher, who duplicated the composition of the lunar regolith..then made some sort of solar oven to cook them?
It was a few years ago..But I'm pretty sure, he was holding a couple of bricks, made with his device.

posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 03:34 PM
I found this site in regards to lunar construction with simulants.

Industrial Processes - Solar Ovens

And here's a NASA site in regards to lunar constuction techniques and materials.

Mining and Manufacturing on the Moon

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