Hay fever is a problem on the moon too, but a solution is being worked on

Putting people on the moon: we can do it. But these people can’t be kept clean after that. Moon dust clings to everything and can cause “hay fever”. It’s a big deal. But scientists now think they have a solution.

They’ve developed a spray that virtually removes moon dust from a spacesuit (and other surfaces). You can read about it in the magazine space acta.

Moon dust
The Moon is full of dust, which has proven to be a major problem during previous manned missions to our natural satellite. Moon dust has a number of disturbing properties. “Moon dust is a constant,” says researcher Ian Wells. And that’s why he clings to everything. Wells also compares it to the filler chips you sometimes find in packages containing fragile items. Those little meringues also tend to stick to everything. But unlike those soft filler flakes, moon dust is made up of very fine, very sharp particles. It is therefore not recommended to wipe dust off surfaces or your spacesuit with a duster or brush; It causes damage instantly.

And particles don’t just stick to anything; They hack—because they’re okay with it—effortlessly everywhere, as we learned during the manned Apollo missions from the ’60s and ’70s. For example, dust particles manage to penetrate spacesuits and sometimes render them unusable. To make matters worse, the dust particles also ended up in the astronauts’ lungs, where they caused real “lunar hay fever”. “Lunar hay fever is a term used to describe the irritation caused by lunar dust in the lungs of astronauts,” Wells explains. “When spacesuits were returned to the lunar landers during the Apollo missions, they were not cleaned first, which led to large amounts of dust entering the lunar landers affecting the astronauts and their equipment.”

See also  The big spring sale has started on the PlayStation Store

Obviously, the moon dust did not make life easier for the Apollo astronauts. “It caused a lot of problems that affected both the missions and the astronauts themselves,” Wells said. And these problems threaten to come back into existence again in the short term now that the US space agency wants to return people to the moon again in 2025. Reason enough for US researchers to look for a solution. They now believe they have found it in the form of liquid nitrogen. In their study, with the help of Barbie and simulated lunar dust, they show that it is possible to remove up to 98 percent of the lunar dust that sticks to spacesuits by spraying those dusty suits with liquid nitrogen.

Wells and his colleagues collected a number of Barbie dolls and dressed them in black spacesuits. They then threw simulated lunar dust at her, which quickly turned the spacesuit white. Then they sprayed the spacesuit with liquid nitrogen. This – in the Earth’s atmosphere as well as in a vacuum – ensures that the dust “fires” the spacesuits at any given time.

How it works?
Wells explains that there are actually two reasons why liquid nitrogen can ensure spacesuits are clean again saintias Outside. “First of all, because we introduced it at a temperature above its boiling point (-196°C, for nitrogen), the liquid turns into a gas. This causes the nitrogen to expand, which is a bit like a small “blowout” and carries lunar dust away from the surface. In addition, something very special happens: since the liquid has been introduced so far above its boiling point, it also forms swirling droplets that do not want to evaporate.” The effect is similar to what you see happen when you drop cold water on a hot stove; Then the water droplets jump away. And in the case of nitrogen, these droplets also pick up some lunar dust and carry it away from the spacesuit. “The combination of these two effects ensures that spacesuits can get pretty much clean again.” And spacesuits don’t just clean up; It also lasts for a long time. Because while cleaning spacesuits covered in lunar dust actually damages spacesuits instantly, liquid nitrogen only seems to cause any harm after being applied to dusty suits 75 times.

See also  Facebook forced auto-unfollow creator to stop unfollowing everything - IT Pro - News

Nitrogen is available
These are promising experiences. Especially when you consider that perhaps future astronauts will have enough nitrogen at their disposal. “In all the alien habitats that have existed so far (like the International Space Station, for example), nitrogen has been present,” Wells explains. For example, the air on the International Space Station is about 20 percent oxygen and about 80 percent nitrogen.

Continue searching
Although the trials have been positive, more research is still needed, Wells says. “More tests are needed to improve the liquid nitrogen aerosol for use on the moon and to see if it works on other materials besides spacesuits and glass.”

No more hay fever
If follow-up studies go well, that would be great news. Because then we finally have something to get rid of the sticky moon dust. It can greatly extend the life of the equipment on the moon and stop the hay fever on the moon. “If we can remove dust from spacesuits and prevent it from entering the astronauts’ living quarters, we could theoretically prevent hay fever on the moon,” Wells asserts.

Some haste is required, as a return to the Moon is said to be imminent. “Ideally, the dust problem would be resolved as soon as possible. It can ruin astronauts’ expensive equipment – ​​such as space suits – and also have adverse effects on health.” For example, it is feared that prolonged exposure to lunar dust could lead to serious lung damage.

It seems that scientists have found a way to clean the dust off the astronauts on the moon again. But of course it would be better to find a way to prevent astronauts from getting dusty in the first place. Wells wholeheartedly agrees. “Theoretically, preventing lunar dust from sticking is, of course, the best option. But so far no technologies have been found that allow us to ensure that dust particles do not stick. A lot of research is being done, but it has not yet been done.” And even if researchers find a way to make the materials more lunar dust repellent, Wells still sees potential in using liquid nitrogen aerosols. “I think a combination of passive methods — reducing the amount of dust that sticks to materials — and active techniques — removing dust that remains stuck — has the most potential for both spacesuits and other materials that we’ll use on the moon.”

See also  WhatsApp tests option that exports Google Drive backups - IT Pro - News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *