April 23, 2009

Scientist offers insight into moon dust

Radiation and the sun's rays help dust on the surface of the moon obtain its noted stickiness, an Australian scientist says.

Brian O'Brien, who helped with the United States' Apollo space program during the 1960s, said his research indicates lunar dust becomes sticky after being exposed to a combination of X-ray radiation and the sun's ultraviolet rays, the Los Angeles Times said Thursday.

The degree of stickiness for the dust can be increased by the level of exposure to the sun's rays, O'Brien said.

The findings by O'Brien, who lives near Perth, Australia, could prove vital to future moon missions, the Times said.

The newspaper said other scientists considered lunar dust as a potential health hazard to human visitors who could have their lungs filled with tiny dust particles.