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We need a Lunar Dust Buster.

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posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 02:35 AM
The idea for this thread has been percolating for awhile now as different stories have come up on Lunar imagery and what may or may not be visible from this angle..or that one. What one shadow may show or what another may not. Whatever the specifics are, it comes down to the same thing. Humans are debating over what is in an ocean of dust. Thick Dust. Endless, fine, talcum powder type dust.

Moonwalkers were covered from helmet to boot with lunar dust. Also tagged as the "dirty dozen," astronauts on the various Apollo missions worked long hours in the lunar environment, setting up science equipment and collectively bagged 840 pounds (382 kilograms) of rock and other surface material for shipment back to Earth

Cernan said that "one of the most aggravating, restricting facets of lunar surface exploration is the dust and its adherence to everything no matter what kind ... and its restrictive friction-like action to everything it gets on." The astronaut added: "You have to live with it but you're continually fighting the dust problem both outside and inside the spacecraft."

Almost all of the stories I have found deal with the problems of the dust in human habitation and colonization of the surface, and I certainly agree it sounds like a major issue to be dealt with at some point in the future. However, I had an entirely different thought on this.

Why can't a bomb, for lack of a better term, be developed that could blow the dust clean away from a large enough area to be useful? I understand the lack of air and such, but there must be other forms that shock waves can take and which would blow that light dust around right? It seems to me, there should be a way of doing that without going over the edge to damaging the hard surface beneath.

Now before anyone laughs at the mere idea, let me hasten to add I wouldn't imagine this as covering huge areas or even very many. Just a few of the most suggestive sites that probes can find for what may be beneath the dust if it were all blown clean away for clear viewing.

Finally, when Google is running X-prize contests for entirely private efforts to land something on the moon, how would this be particularly challenging? It would literally be firing an ICBM type missile at the moon, but with a "warhead" designed to just blow the dust out and not blow away the surface.

What say anyone? Is it viable? Why not give it a shot and see what happens? The worst would be a big dust cloud and a new light/dark spot we could see...maybe..?

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 02:41 AM
Just add water.

Then you have a mud problem instead of a dust problem.


Think about it.

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 03:00 AM
Could they not just go nuts and spray this all over themselves? Its mainly for repelling hydro sources, but I'm sure it would let the dust shoot straight off?


Saves faffing about with a hoover on the moon

edit on 12-3-2012 by Qumulys because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 03:05 AM
Very good concept and presentation.If I was allowed at that rock the helium 3 would be most important

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 03:06 AM

Originally posted by SarnholeOntarable
Very good concept and presentation.If I was allowed at that rock the helium 3 would be most important


posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 04:21 AM
reply to post by Qumulys

My idea is more to simply get a clear look at the hard/rock surface of at least some area of the lunar surface blown clean of the dust. Like how exposed rock on Earth would be after a strong windstorm with straight line winds.

In looking a bit at imagery of Mars, the same concept ought to be useful there, but nothing like the moon. Mars has dust relocating constantly, like Earth..but it seems to be that like the Apollo rover treads should be there theory..., there could be real fascinating things to be seen on the static surface of our moon.

Maybe minerals clearly visible once that layer is blow away? Perhaps other surface features like caves or caverns? I look at the moon and I think about how an area looks the morning after a heavy winter storm. Everything is uniform, flat and pretty. Below can still be anything from short grass to a field of boulders...but without removing the snow, no one could ever know.

Oh well... It's just something I'd been wondering about and why not?

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 04:22 AM
Ummmmm, arn't meteorites and other space debris that has hit the moon acting like little/medium/large space bombs? A the speed those suckers hit shouldn't they also do the same as what you are suggesting?

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 04:23 AM
reply to post by SarnholeOntarable

Helium-3 is something I recall as being very promising and valuable for energy. I also seem to recall reading discussions years ago about how it could fund everything else which would make the science up there viable. After all, no one pays 100's of billions just to answer scientific questions and fill text books...but all that can come easy if 'Gold is in dem dar lunar hills'.
Someone just needs to get the gold rush started and let nature take it's course. My kid will have a vacation there by the time he's my age.

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 05:52 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

In theory,I think a few very low passes over an area with a large enough rocket engines should clear the dust away,if done at a suitable angle.
Or like you mentioned,some kind of bomb may do the trick.

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 06:33 PM

The dusty layer is only a few centimeters deep.

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 06:51 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Instead of blowing the dust up and bombing the moon why not find a way to make the dust work for us. How about a friendly rover the sucks the dust up and poops out a handy building block...

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 07:00 PM
reply to post by iforget

I was about to find the visual diagrams to show how rocket thrust disperses out in space as opposed to the long trails of thrust in atmosphere. So you are correct that 'blowing' the dust away is quite futile in space, you have to be very close so orbital thrust dusting is impossible in space. Like you I would have suggested a vacuum cleaner approach, less potentially destructive, and 100X more efficient, if you have a big 'wind' generating apparatus, (and maybe a big collecting bag).

Good one dude.

I also just want to add that using water is as near futile as rocket thrust in space, water cannot exist on the lunar surface, you can never create regolith mud for any appreciable length of time. Also think of wet sand on the beach, not exactly mud is it.
edit on 12-3-2012 by Illustronic because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 11:01 PM

Originally posted by iforget
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Instead of blowing the dust up and bombing the moon why not find a way to make the dust work for us. How about a friendly rover the sucks the dust up and poops out a handy building block...

In a long term approach, that is an outstanding idea and there has to be a way it can be of real benefit.

My idea and thoughts for clearing a few areas large enough to view and perhaps even land rovers at is simply for the short term, near-future possibility of answering some questions and seeing and sharing for the world what the Moon's surface actually looks like. As a side benefit, it'd clear the dust from what may be interesting features beneath as suggested by the shapes in the dust itself.

Do we even know what color the moon is? The totally bleached and radiation scored surface is obviously shades of white and gray, but is there a surface beneath that hasn't been totally bleached in all areas? A couple spots to peek might be interesting for that? I don't see where Apollo ever could have moved enough to see more than a hand scooped area....they'd have apparently been totally saturated with it by how they talk about the stuff.

I never meant to suggest it be anything more than a half a dozen or less areas a few hundred meters across...Just a measure to get some interesting information (hopefully) that doesn't take billions and wouldn't require 10 year time lines.

It seems to me that real progress could be made?

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 06:17 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Yes I dont disagree with you in some ways and I didn't mean to be crass. I find no shame in thinking about the
moon, considering one of the biggest challenges that we found in being there, and trying to formulate a plan to deal with it.

I think that there will be times in space when we will have to use force and dominate the environment in order to survive. I also feel that the sheer hostility of the environments we will face must force us to consider ways to turn these challenges into opportunities and let them work for us.

Unlike Illustronic with his technical knowledge I was looking at this purely from a philosophic viewpoint. I worry that the methods we have so far used on Earth to arguably such great success will more often fail us in environments that are completely hostile towards life as we know it.

Anyways what I mean is that we should all proudly put our thoughts forth, think it through and get out there and explore

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 07:12 AM

This might work.

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 07:59 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

More to the point what makes you think the dust is thick enough to cause problems in seeing what's on the surface

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 08:45 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Explanation: S&F!

Lunar Soil: Moon dust fountains and electrostatic levitation [wiki]

There is some evidence that the Moon may have a tenuous atmosphere of moving dust particles constantly leaping up from and falling back to the Moon's surface, giving rise to a "dust atmosphere" that looks static but is composed of dust particles in constant motion. The term "Moon fountain" has been used to describe this effect by analogy with the stream of molecules of water in a fountain following a ballistic trajectory while appearing static due to the constancy of the stream. According to the model recently proposed by Timothy J. Stubbs, Richard R. Vondrak, and William M. Farrell of the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, this is caused by electrostatic levitation. On the daylit side of the Moon, solar ultraviolet and X-ray radiation is energetic enough to knock electrons out of atoms and molecules in the lunar soil. Positive charges build up until the tiniest particles of lunar dust (measuring 1 micrometre and smaller) are repelled from the surface and lofted anywhere from metres to kilometres high, with the smallest particles reaching the highest altitudes. Eventually they fall back toward the surface where the process is repeated over and over again. On the night side, the dust is negatively charged by electrons in the solar wind. Indeed, the fountain model suggests that the night side would charge up to higher voltages than the day side, possibly launching dust particles to higher velocities and altitudes. This effect could be further enhanced during the portion of the Moon's orbit where it passes through Earth's magnetotail; see Magnetic field of the Moon for more detail.[5] On the terminator there could be significant horizontal electric fields forming between the day and night areas, resulting in horizontal dust transport - a form of "moon storm".

And here are several possible solutions ...

Acoustic Cleaning [wiki]

The majority of acoustic cleaners operate in the audio sonic range from 60 hertz up to 420 Hz. Occasionally there is a requirement to operate in the infrasonic range below 40 Hz. This would apply if there were strict noise control requirements, or there was limited plant access. There are three scientific fields which converge in the understanding of acoustic cleaning technology.
Sound propagation. This relates to an understanding of the nature of the sound waves, how they vary and how they will interact with the environment.
Mathematics of the environment. Materials science, surface friction, distance and areas familiar to a mechanical engineer.
Chemical engineering. The chemical properties of the powder or substance to be debonded. Especially the auto adhesive properties of the powder.

An acoustic cleaner will create a series of very rapid and powerful sound induced pressure fluctuations which are then transmitted into the solid particles of ash, dust, granules or powder. This causes them to move at differing speeds and debond from adjoining particles and the surface that they are adhering to. Once they have been separated then the material will fall off due to gravity or it will be carried away by the process gas or air stream.

The key features which determine whether or not an acoustic cleaner will be effective for any given problem are the particle size range, the moisture content and the density of the particles as well as how these characteristics will change with temperature and time. Typically particles between 20 micrometres and 5 mm with moisture content below 8.5% are ideal. Upper temperature limits are dependent upon the melting point of the particles and acoustic cleaners have been employed at temperatures above 1000 C to remove ash build-up in boiler plants.

It is important to match the operating frequencies to the requirements. Higher frequencies can be directed more accurately whilst lower frequencies will carry further, and are generally used for more demanding requirements. A typical selection of frequencies available would be as follows:
420 Hz for a small acoustic cleaner which might be used to clear bridging at the base of a silo.
350 Hz will be more powerful and this frequency can be used to unblock material build-up in ID (induced draft) fans, filters, cyclones, mixers, dryers and coolers.
230 Hz. At this frequency, the power involved is sufficient to use in most electricity generation applications.
75 Hz and 60 Hz. These are generally the most powerful acoustic cleaners and are often used in large vessels and silos.

Personal Disclosure: Continued next post below! ...

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 08:45 AM
reply to post by OmegaLogos

Explanation: Continued from above post! ...

Sonic Soot Blowers [wiki]

Sonic soot blowers offer a cost-effective and non-destructive means of preventing ash and particulate build-up within the power generation industry. They use high energy – low frequency sound waves that provide 360° particulate de-bonding and at a speed in excess of 344 metres per second. Because they employ non-destructive sound waves, unlike steam soot blowers they eliminate any concerns over corrosion, erosion or mechanical damage and do not produce an effluent stream.

Electrostatic Precipitator [wiki]

An electrostatic precipitator (ESP), or electrostatic air cleaner is a particulate collection device that removes particles from a flowing gas (such as air) using the force of an induced electrostatic charge. Electrostatic precipitators are highly efficient filtration devices that minimally impede the flow of gases through the device, and can easily remove fine particulate matter such as dust and smoke from the air stream.[1] In contrast to wet scrubbers which apply energy directly to the flowing fluid medium, an ESP applies energy only to the particulate matter being collected and therefore is very efficient in its consumption of energy (in the form of electricity).

Personal Disclosure: I hope that helps!

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 08:22 PM
reply to post by wmd_2008

More to the point what makes you think the dust is thick enough to cause problems in seeing what's on the surface

That's a good question and I suppose without being able to answer that, the whole idea is about a neat stunt instead of a viable tool to learn with. I'd noted without much detail, my thread was inspired by other recent ones that show imagery of the Moon's surface fairly close up. Those almost all seen to show the outlines and mere hints of shapes and features in the hard surface below. Not much....just lumps in the dirt. 99.9% are probably rocks or cosmic debris from a few billion years of being a floating target. Even those may be informative if seen without the bleach white dust all over it.

Kinda like a yard full of all shapes and manners of junk might look immediately after a good hard snowfall. Just the mere hints of what lay beneath. Someone mentioned the dust being a few centimeters in depth...but the footprints and more importantly, the rover tire tracks sink much deeper than 1-2 centimeters by visual appearance alone.

So that is where I thought I'd throw this out and why I believe such an effort is worth the time to explore. It's a shame I don't have the background or field of study to do more than throw out an idea, but perhaps someone else has more options if it makes any sense to them.

posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 08:23 PM
reply to post by OmegaLogos

Thank you very much for taking a couple moments to add that to the thread. It gives some depth and substance to the outline of an idea I started with. I appreciate the contribution and new things to think about on it.

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