Dust up on the Moon. Apollo 17 commander prepares to doff lunar dust-covered space suit.
Credit: NASA


Think of it as a flash back message from the Apollo moonwalkers. The Moon is a Disneyland of dust.

Between 1969 and the end of 1972, a dozen astronauts kicked up the powdery regolith, the topside dirt of the Moon.

Apollo aroma

Apollo expedition members could not escape tracking lunar material inside their Moon lander homes. After doffing their helmets and gloves, moonwalkers could feel the abrasive nature of the dust, as well as smell and even taste the Moon. And that gave rise to the “Apollo aroma”- astronaut recollections of the odor of the Moon.

A vial of Apollo 11 Moon dust from a lunar sample collected in 1969.
Credit: Marilee Bailey/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Turns out, it has a distinctive odiferous smell.

Dangers to address

Earth’s Moon will be the “go-to” place as the century progresses. But there will also be political, economic and financial reasons to explore and colonize lunar territory, in particular, to extract water from the Moon’s surface and to mine for precious rare-earth metals as terrestrial resources dwindle.


Though there will be opportunities for those willing to make use of those resources, whether as nations, as individuals, as private companies or as a combination of these, there will be dangers to address.

One such danger to astronauts will be from exposure to lunar dust.


For more information, please read my new Space.com story:

Moon Dust Could Be a Problem for Future Lunar Explorers

Lunar dust is abrasive and gets into everything.


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