SPACE ISSUES

Attack of the Moon Dust

NASA scientists working on plans to set up a lunar outpost by 2020 must first confront one serious issue: jagged, meteorite-fused space dust. The Wall Street Journal reports that the dust is far different than any found on Earth, thanks to constant bombardment by "micrometeorites," which generate intense heat and fuse particles into bits of glass, creating a dangerous material that threatens space suits and equipment. The lunar surface's unique character generates high demand for the stuff among scientists (imagine the envy around the office!) but therein lies the problem: only 227 pounds of it is on Earth, while NASA may need as many as 500 tons for research.