Credit: NASA

The next chapter in the U.S. human exploration of the Moon, the Artemis Project, will dispatch crews there for extended periods of time, building upon the heritage of project Apollo. Between 1969 and the end of 1972, a dozen astronauts kicked up the powdery regolith, the topside dirt of the Moon. But there’s one flash back message from the Apollo moonwalkers worth heeding: the place is a Disneyland of dust.

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

During their landings, dust blown up into the thin lunar atmosphere impacted astronaut visibility. Once crews were out and about on the moon, the dust had deleterious effects on their space suits, helmets, equipment and instrumentation. Apollo expedition members could not escape tracking lunar material inside their lunar landers. After doffing their helmets and gloves, moonwalkers could feel the abrasive nature of the dust, even experience an “Apollo aroma” – a distinctive, odiferous smell.

For more dusty details, go to my new SpaceNews story:

“Dealing with dust: A back-to-the-moon dilemma”

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