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Latest Lunar soil Stories

8e0501b6d1b6c8b903751b133923dff51
2006-11-21 09:57:42

Ever since astronauts returned from another world, scientists have been mystified by some of the moon rocks they brought back. Now one of the mysteries has been solved. "We learned a great deal about the sun by going to the moon," said Don Burnett, Genesis principal investigator at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "Now, with our Genesis data, we are turning the tables, using the solar wind to better understand lunar processes." Ansgar Grimberg from ETH Institute of...

ec2d3b1df4a0d2f6f0a66376214eea211
2006-08-04 11:15:00

According to folklore, every full Moon has a special name. The Snow Moon comes in February, the snowiest month of the year. The Thunder Moon comes in July, the month of summer lightning. There are Wolf Moons, Strawberry Moons, Harvest Moons"”each name evokes something nifty about its particular month. Until August, that is. August has the Sturgeon Moon, named after a slimy, primeval fish. What happened? Long ago Native American tribes around the Great Lakes fished for sturgeon in...

9baa4fea62aa731efc26a3c211ef6bd51
2006-06-28 07:35:00

Picture this: A cup of coffee, steaming and black. Add a dollop of milk and gently stir. Eddies of cream go swirling around the cup. Magnify that image a million times and you've got a Lunar Swirl. Lunar swirls are strange markings on the Moon that resemble the cream in your coffee -- on a much larger scale. They seem to be curly-cues of pale moondust, twisting and turning across the lunar surface for dozens of miles. Each swirl is utterly flat and protected by a magnetic field. What are...

ea4fd3898dddba35e042f852f194a0e61
2006-05-11 18:50:00

The Moon has plentiful oxygen for future astronauts. It's lying on the ground. An early, persistent problem noted by Apollo astronauts on the Moon was dust. It got everywhere, including into their lungs. Oddly enough, that may be where future Moon explorers get their next breath of air: The moon's dusty layer of soil is nearly half oxygen. The trick is extracting it. "All you have to do is vaporize the stuff," says Eric Cardiff of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He leads one of several...

9fee21750ac7eb784e057751deea37c41
2006-04-20 08:45:00

Ever get a fragile item packed in a box filled with Styrofoam peanuts? Plunge your hands into the foam peanuts to search for the item, and when you pull it out foam peanuts are clinging to your arms. Try to brush them off, and they won't fall off -- instead, they seem to hop away, only to cling to your legs or elsewhere. The smaller the peanuts, the more tenacious they seem. In fact, if you break a foam peanut into bits, the tiny lightweight bits are almost impossible to brush off. This...

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2006-04-06 08:20:00

Thirty-plus years ago on the moon, Apollo astronauts made an important discovery: Moondust can be a major nuisance. The fine powdery grit was everywhere and had a curious way of getting into things. Moondust plugged bolt holes, fouled tools, coated astronauts' visors and abraded their gloves. Very often while working on the surface, they had to stop what they were doing to clean their cameras and equipment using large -- and mostly ineffective -- brushes. Dealing with "the dust problem" is...

ac342a63f2558e9de657678b9633fed91
2006-03-26 09:50:00

After a grueling day climbing the mountains of the moon, astronauts will need a place to kick back and relax. Larry Toups of the Johnson Space Center talks with Astrobiology Magazine about the challenges of designing a dwelling for the future moonwalkers. NASA -- "Home available for short-term stay. Landscape is an airless but magnificent desolation. Closest grocery store is a quarter million miles away." Not many people would jump at such an ad, but for astronauts dreaming of lunar...

f16f8660f7b955ec4c4cb73d7ea64fec1
2006-01-31 07:30:00

NASA -- Moondust. "I wish I could send you some," says Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan. Just a thimbleful scooped fresh off the lunar surface. "It's amazing stuff." Feel it -- it's soft like snow, yet strangely abrasive. Taste it -- "not half bad," according to Apollo 16 astronaut John Young. Sniff it -- "it smells like spent gunpowder," says Cernan. How do you sniff moondust? Every Apollo astronaut did it. They couldn't touch their noses to the lunar surface. But, after every...

857dcd546802c78e3d8f6bbea9ddb0961
2005-12-10 09:55:00

An old Apollo experiment is telling researchers something new and surprising about the moon. Every lunar morning, when the sun first peeks over the dusty soil of the moon after two weeks of frigid lunar night, a strange storm stirs the surface. The next time you see the moon, trace your finger along the terminator, the dividing line between lunar night and day. That's where the storm is. It's a long and skinny dust storm, stretching all the way from the north pole to the south pole, swirling...

74bbd90f27b42fe11b5680f5502c03cd1
2005-11-21 07:55:00

Using laser beams and electric fields, NASA researchers are probing the curious behavior of moondust. Each morning, Mian Abbas enters his laboratory and sits down to examine -- a single mote of dust. Zen-like, he studies the same speck suspended inside a basketball-sized vacuum chamber for as long as 10 to 12 days. The microscopic object of his rapt attention is not just any old dust particle. It's moondust. One by one, Abbas is measuring properties of individual dust grains returned by...


Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
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