The Next Big Challenge for Lunar Astronauts? Moon Dust

NASA is trying out sonic waves, electrostatic devices, and extra-slick coatings as ways to repel pesky space dirt.

As NASA and private space companies prepare to send equipment—and eventually astronauts—back to the moon, they are facing a nearly invisible threat to any future lunar outpost: tiny particles of dust. Ground-up lunar rock, known as regolith, clogs drills and other delicate instruments, and it’s so sharp that it scratches spacesuits. Because the dust absorbs sunlight, it can also overheat sensitive electronics.

Dust particles also pose a health risk. Even though Apollo-era astronauts only went outside during a few days on each mission, some reported burning eyes and stuffy nasal passages when they

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