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it's the best part of half a century and we haven't done anything on the moon at all..... Except bomb it and send a probe in very very recent times.
Not even a Rover????
Pres. Obama, when he 'canceled' the Aries and Bush's Moon plans, merely re-directed the focus somewhat farther. (Mars). I'm on the fence as to the best course...I think a commitment to a Lunar base is important, especially as a launching point for the outer planets (and inner, too). However, a much improved orbital platform could accomplish the same task at much less cost.
Originally posted by Phage
No. It won't flatten a human
Depending on what you're wearing, here's what you can generate in your car seat.
* Nylon clothes: 21,000 volts
* Wool clothes: 9,000 volts
* Cotton clothes: 7,000 volts
I don't think anyone has died from a static spark. Have they?
I believe we didn't walk on the moon.
The wall of dust, if it exists, might be diaphanous, invisible, harmless. Or it could be a real problem, clogging spacesuits, coating surfaces and causing hardware to overheat.
On the Moon and on Mars, conditions are ideal for triboelectric charging. The soil is drier than desert sand on Earth. That makes it an excellent electrical insulator. Moreover, the soil and most materials used in spacesuits and spacecraft (e.g., aluminized mylar, neoprene-coated nylon, Dacron, urethane-coated nylon, tricot, and stainless steel) are completely unlike each other. When astronauts walk or rovers roll across the ground, their boots or wheels gather electrons as they rub through the gravel and dust. Because the soil is insulating, providing no path to ground, a space suit or rover can build up tremendous triboelectric charge, whose magnitude is yet unknown. And when the astronaut or vehicle gets back to base and touches metal--ZAP! The lights in the base may go out, or worse.
On the Moon, "Apollo astronauts never reported being zapped by electrostatic discharges," notes Calle. "However, future lunar missions using large excavation equipment to move lots of dry dirt and dust could produce electrostatic fields. Because there's no atmosphere on the Moon, the fields could grow quite strong. Eventually, discharges could occur in vacuum."
So what's the solution to this problem?
Here on Earth, it's simple: we minimize static discharge by grounding electrical systems. Grounding them means literally connecting them to Earth--pounding copper rods deep into the ground. Ground rods work well in most places on Earth because several feet deep the soil is damp, and is thus a good conductor. The Earth itself provides a "sea of electrons," which neutralizes everything connected to it, explains Calle.
There's no moisture, though, in the soil of the Moon or Mars. Even the ice believed to permeate Martian soil wouldn't help, as "frozen water is not a terribly good conductor," says Landis. So ground rods would be ineffective in establishing a neutral "common ground" for a lunar or Martian colony.
On Mars, the best ground might be, ironically, the air. A tiny radioactive source "such as that used in smoke detectors," could be attached to each spacesuit and to the habitat, suggests Landis. Low-energy alpha particles would fly off into the rarefied atmosphere, hitting molecules and ionizing them (removing electrons). Thus, the atmosphere right around the habitat or astronaut would become conductive, neutralizing any excess charge.
Achieving a common ground on the Moon would be trickier, where there's not even a rarefied atmosphere to help bleed off the charge. Instead, a common ground might be provided by burying a huge sheet of foil or mesh of fine wires, possibly made of aluminum (which is highly conductive and could be extracted from lunar soil), underneath the entire work area. Then all the habitat's walls and apparatus would be electrically connected to the aluminum.
Research is still preliminary. So ideas differ amongst the physicists who are seeking, well, some common ground.
"In a nutshell, what we're finding is that the polar craters are very unusual electrical environments, and in particular there can be large surface charging at the bottom of these craters," said William Farrell from Goddard Space Flight Center, lead author of a new research on the Moon's environment.
“The electrons build up an electron cloud on this leeward edge of the crater wall and floor, which can create an unusually large negative charge of a few hundred Volts relative to the dense solar wind flowing over the top,” said Farrell.
The negative charge along this leeward edge won’t build up indefinitely. Eventually, the attraction between the negatively charged region and positive ions in the solar wind will cause some other unusual electric current to flow. The team believes one possible source for this current could be negatively charged dust that is repelled by the negatively charged surface, gets levitated and flows away from this highly charged region. “The Apollo astronauts in the orbiting Command Module saw faint rays on the lunar horizon during sunrise that might have been scattered light from electrically lofted dust,” said Farrell. “Additionally, the Apollo 17 mission landed at a site similar to a crater environment – the Taurus-Littrow valley. The Lunar Ejecta and Meteorite Experiment left by the Apollo 17 astronauts detected impacts from dust at terminator crossings where the solar wind is nearly-horizontal flowing, similar to the situation over polar craters.”
Originally posted by Korg Trinity
The ESD would certainly be enough to kill all your computer equipment, the relays to your thrusters and more than likely the micro electronically controlled breathing apparatus.