Moon dust has been a “bloody nuisance” to NASA for decades, says a physicist: it sticks to spacesuits, clogs instruments, and could be a health risk for future colonists. Scientists believe the stickiness is due to a positive charge from the sun’s rays, NASA says. Now the physicist, 75 and retired, thinks he’s figured out the key to its behavior: the angle of the sun, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The angle of the sun as it hits the moon determines how sticky the stuff will be, Brian O’Brien says. The Earth's atmosphere prevents such trouble here. This information could be a big help to NASA, which wants to visit the moon again by 2020. O’Brien has been intrigued by moon dust since 1970, when he faulted it for messing with instruments Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left on the moon.