How to Clean the Moondust: Researchers Found a Solution

new development for moon

You’ve probably never thought about how important cleaning is on the Moon. Apparently, the Moondust is very annoying, sticking to various surfaces, such as spacesuits, helmets, or solar panels.

A team of researchers developed a possible fix. A tool that shoots out a concentrated but safe stream of low-energy, negatively-charged particles might be the right thing for a spring cleaning on the Moon. 

In the new research, the team pointed such a device at a range of dirty surfaces inside a vacuum room. The results were incredible. Here is what you need to know. 

The Moon Dustbuster

The new solution of a proper spring cleaning on Moon is a dustbuster. Well, kind of. 

Astronauts walking on the lunar surface fight with huge Moondust quantities, also known as regolith. But things are about to change. The recent device developed to shoot out a concentrated and safe stream of low-energy, negatively-charged particles might be the right fix. 

Of course, researchers need to reach the final stages of the development and testing before astronauts will be able to use the device, but they are optimistic. According to Benjamin Farr, an undergraduate student in physics at CU Boulder, the team’s early work indicates that electron-beam dustbusters could be a convenience of Moon bases in the not-too-distant future.

Electron Sprinkling

To see if their device will fit Moon’s conditions, the researchers loaded a vacuum room with many materials coated in a NASA-developed “lunar simulant” made to resemble Moondust. After pointing an electron beam at those particles, the dust disappeared in only a few minutes. This thing worked on other surfaces, too, such as glass and spacesuit fabric. 

The new technology intends to clean even the finest dust particles, known as the most challenging things to remove. During the tests, researchers were able to clean dusty surfaces by an average of approximately 75-85 %. 

“The charges become so large that they repel each other, and then dust ejects off of the surface,” detailed Xu Wang, a research associate in the LASP at CU Boulder. 

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