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SPACE: Don’t Snort the Moon Dust

Moon Dust - NASA

In space, they say, no one can hear you sneeze. But Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt was doing a lot of that inside the Challenger command module when he visited the moon in 1972.

One day, after a lunar walk, Schmitt accidentally breathed in some of the abundant moon dust that he and his commander had tracked back in to the Challenger living quarters. For a full day, Schmitt suffered from what he described as “lunar hay fever.” His eyes watered, his throat throbbed, and he broke into a sneezing fit.

No, Schmitt wasn’t allergic to the moon. NASA scientists now understand that pieces of moon dust — especially the smallest, sharpest particles — pose clear health risks to astronauts. A recent study published in the April issue of the journal GeoHealth examined exactly how dangerous that dust can be on a cellular level — and the results are as ominous as the dark side of the moon. In several lab tests, a single scoop of replica moon dust proved toxic enough to kill up to 90 percent of the lung and brain cells exposed to it.

By Brandon Spektor – Full Story at Live Science

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1 thought on “SPACE: Don’t Snort the Moon Dust”

  1. Honestly,
    I’m surprised that this is news. It’s called Silicosis. You don’t have to go to the moon to get it. In some states, it ranks high in the list of disabilities.

    Reply

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