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Researcher: Moon Dust Has Unique Characteristics

Last updated on Friday, June 22, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A scientist in Australia has uncovered something very interesting about dirt brought back from the moon by lunar astronauts.

Scientists knew the lunar dust was unique but until recently, they didn't know why. Now, they know that the lunar dust contains nanoparticles which gives the dust some unique characteristics.

Brian Murphy with the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University says if you look at the astronauts when they were on the moon, you could see the dust sticking to them, getting into creases in their suits and floating in the air a bit more than normal.

Murphy says these nanoparticles are very small, almost at the molecular level.

Dr. Jack Mustard, a geologist at Brown University, says nanoparticles are very reactive. He says when they attach themselves onto another substance, they want to transform into something more stable.

Murphy says this lunar dust basically creates static electricity and makes it a very good heat insulator. He says the better we can understand nanoparticles, the better we can create and use them here on Earth.

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