A new study has found that liquid nitrogen could act as a great Moon dust remover. Ever since the first astronauts stepped foot on the surface of the Moon, astronauts have been looking for better ways to keep their spacesuits clean.
In the past, they would use abrasive brushes to remove the powdery dust from their spacesuits. Scientists say that these brushes actually degraded material in the spacesuits. Keeping its newest spacesuits clean is vital because too much Moon dust can cause their seals to stop working.
Additionally, without a better way to remove Moon dust from the spacesuits, astronauts risk exposure to the dust themselves, which can be very toxic when it comes in contact with human cells — even causing an illness called lunar hay fever.
NASA Artemis mission hopes to establish a permanent base on lunar surface. Scientists are trying to develop a Moon dust removal tool for the astronauts working on the surface. That’s where this new study comes in.
According to the authors, liquid nitrogen is able to remove Moon dust. To test the theory, the authors took volcanic ash (which is similar in composition to Moon dust) and covered Barbies, who had been equipped with makeshift spacesuits, in the dust.
Next the researchers spray the Barbies in spacesuits with liquid Nitrogen. The volcanic ash is ejected from the suits without causing any damage to them. They say this would cause less degradation than the old brushes they used to rely on.
The researchers presented the findings to NASA, who awarded them for discovering such an effective Moon dust remover. Perhaps future Artemis missions to the Moon will rely on liquid nitrogen or something similar to keep Moon dust off the spacesuits. Perhaps we will see new methods in the months to come.
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