Science: Space: Moon
Broom the Moon   (+13, -1)  [vote for, against]
Get rid of that pesky moon dust

As most people know, the moon dust is quite abrasive and, more then a nuisance, it constitutes a maintenance nightmare for lunar operations. So, even though it could be an expensive operation, maybe if would pay to clear the future lunar base area of the dust. A robotised rover could be adapted to broom an area of the moon, so that when the lunar module construction started the area would be clear. Since there's no wind (except occasionally inside astronauts spacesuits) the area would be clear for a long time and all the stationary lunar material would last much longer.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 01 2009

Halfbakery: Lunar Zen Garden Lunar Zen Garden
[pluterday] [zen_tom, Jun 02 2009]

Lunar concrete prize http://spaceprizes....lunar-concrete.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 02 2009]

[treon]'s the man in the moon http://img212.image...moonflagcopyjo5.jpg
[theleopard, Jun 02 2009]

Swifter Sweepers http://www.swiffer....x65oCFRIhnAodzj1BBw
They'll attract all the dust. And then you can sift through it for the good stuff, [blissmiss, Jun 02 2009]

BBC News: Lunar dust 'may harm astronauts'
"A study suggests the smallest particles in lunar dust might be toxic, if comparisons with dust inhalation cases on Earth apply." and, interestingly; "nano-phase iron could also be the key to mitigating the hazard, because it imparts magnetic properties to the dust." - also "if you put lunar soil in your microwave oven, next to your tea, it will melt at 1,200C before your tea boils - which is a magical thing" the article digests these facts and ends up describing a kind of Lunar Zamboni. [zen_tom, Jun 02 2009]

another solution to the dust problem Moondust_20protection
Moondust protection [simonj, Jun 03 2009]

Not a Roomba
Also not a Moonba [Dub, Jun 03 2009, last modified Jun 04 2009]

Small track-type tractor
Just push the dust out of the base building area. [PauloSargaco, Jun 04 2009]

how deep is it?
-- po, Jun 01 2009

Not sure. It collects a few centimeters over a billion years, though, and that's why it's only about footprint-deep where the Lunar Module landed.

Once it was removed, I don't think you would have to worry for a while.
-- nomocrow, Jun 01 2009

We could launch an army of solar powered roombas, no?
-- ericscottf, Jun 01 2009

Why use a broom? Just vacuum it up.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 01 2009

Of course! And with all that free vacuum up there, all you'd need to do would be to hook up a hose to it.
-- normzone, Jun 01 2009

Fill sandbags with lunar dust and stack them up.

Use some special lunar powder actuated fasteners to bolt a-frame baseplates into "bedrock", and run some cable between the frames and you could stack the dust-bags up to form the walls / roof. It may be enough radiation shielding to where all you need to bring is an airlock, atmosphere, and sealant to have a small lunar base.
-- Zimmy, Jun 01 2009

[AbsintheWithoutLeave], ahahah... it was a joke, right?
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 01 2009

The dust can be baked into quite fine bricks apparently. One design I saw baked the moon dust into an interlocking Lego™ type brick. When you broke them they were case hardened rather than monolithic. Sadly whatever device you use to control the dust problem is going to suffer the dust problem, a paradox no? Producing the Dustbot would require the technology that would make it obsolete.
-- WcW, Jun 01 2009

Bagging or Bricking to produce bunkers would make a lot of sense. Most plans I've seen are based on using the dust to bury installations as radiation shielding anyway.
-- MechE, Jun 02 2009

[WcW] Well, that all depends on the ROI of building a dustbot that is not immune to dust itself. If the amount you get to save due to the benefits of having a base area clear of dust are superior to the cost of the bot itself, then the investment is worth it. Would it be cheaper to maintain a single bot or the whole Lunar Base, equipment included?
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

Any rugs on the moon?
-- daseva, Jun 02 2009

You could rake it into swirly patterns and have a lunar zen garden [link].
-- zen_tom, Jun 02 2009

[AWOL] If you vacuumed it up, you'd have to plonk it somewhere. Why not spurt it out in a steady stream from the moon's surface at such an angle that it gets caught in the moon's gravity and forms a lunar ring? That would look cool, n'est pas?
-- theleopard, Jun 02 2009

[theleopard] aaahh... I'm not sure if you are doing it on purpose but you seem to be neglecting the the fact that you couldn't vacuum anything in the moon (since the moon doesn't have an atmosphere). The only thing you could do is the exact opposite, vacuum something *to* the moon surface using the vacuum around it to extract the content of a pressurised container. But that's exactly the opposite of what I was proposing.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

//that's why it's only about footprint-deep where the Lunar Module landed//
I often wonder* what the area under the descent stage of the LM looked like - after all, it had been blasted with a good few thousand kgs of rocket thrust for several seconds.
Did it blast down to bare rock?

*When I'm not wondering about Giselle Bundchen

//since the moon doesn't have an atmosphere//

Well, that's a moot point, isn't it? Six landings, each with a few thousand kilos of propellant, plus all the oxygen vented depressurising the cabin before each EVA must've had some impact.
-- coprocephalous, Jun 02 2009

The area directly under the LM was bare, but the clear area was smaller then it would have been on earth. The exhaust bounced back up more than it spread out due to the lack of atmosphere. (this one shows up in "fake landing" conspiracy theories from time to time)
-- MechE, Jun 02 2009

So 'broom' is now a verb eh? I must note that in my diary.

Couldn't we just send our explorers to somewhere that's a bit less dusty? My mum's house for instance?
-- DrBob, Jun 02 2009

Is that particulate spreading out an atmospheric thing then? I wonder what a nuclear explosion would look like if it took place on the moon?
-- zen_tom, Jun 02 2009

I thought we were planning to turn all of that dust into conctrete.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 02 2009

[coprocephalous] Hmmm, good point. A few billion more landings and we should be able to vacuum the whole surface.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

[DrBob] No need to thank me, I'm glad I could contribute, even if modestly, to the evolution of the English language. I'm sure you'll forgive a non-native English speaker for any wrongdoings he might have done (and I'm pretty sure this sentence could benefit from a review too).
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

//you couldn't vacuum anything in the moon //

Oops, no, I was just being blissfully naive.

Still, we could arm an astronaut with a dustpan and brush, with which they could tirelessly sweep up the moon's residue and angrily fling it at the Earth where those in charge commissioned their monotonous plight for the sake of some pretty, albeit completely useless, lunar rings. Any volunteers?
-- theleopard, Jun 02 2009

//Any volunteers?//

Not really, but just because I have a wife and children...
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

Isn't that a reason to the contrary?

Do a Perrin!
-- theleopard, Jun 02 2009

I rather suspect, Paulo, that your English is considerably better than my foreign language skills.
-- DrBob, Jun 02 2009

//they just haven't built anything there yet//
What about the bases on the Far Side?
-- coprocephalous, Jun 02 2009

//Isn't that a reason to the contrary?//

Hell yeah! I'm with you on this one. This talk of children needing a father is an invention of modernity and women don't really need a man in the house because there's nothing a man can do that a woman can't... Even so, there's always this nagging thing in the back of my mind against just packing up and leave. I imagine that concepts like "responsibility", "conscience" and "love for the family" might be involved in this, but I'm not a specialist in these matters so I'd rather not go into them.

So, I'll just request a lobotomy, put these feelings away and if you could be so kind as to send me a form so that I can sign in for the Moon sweeping job, I'd be very much in your debt.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

What, you mean to say you're married with children and you actually, dare I say it, you actually love 'em? These people who you have pledged the rest of your life to, the ol' ball and chain, and the little brats, and you actually think they're bonza?

You're practically living on the moon already mate.

(Please adopt an appropriate, cor-blimey, luv-a-duck, who's-yer-farva? cockney twang for my last two annos.)
-- theleopard, Jun 02 2009

//What about the bases on the Far Side?//

Or the bass on The Dark Side of the Moon?
-- Jinbish, Jun 02 2009

how about crop circles in the dust? sort of a tongue in cheek joke about us (et's) being on the moon!.

*snort* do you know the street value of this crater? its pure dust!
-- Arcanus, Jun 02 2009

Hey, wait a second, isn't [treon] still there anyway? He's probably just twiddling his thumbs about now, may as well do something useful...

-- theleopard, Jun 02 2009

// What, you mean to say you're married with children and you actually, dare I say it, you actually love 'em?//

No way, dude. I just say this stuff to impress the ladies *wink, wink*.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

Faerie dust, moon dust, it's all the same to me. Dust.

Get a giant "Sweeper Swifter" and be done with it. I'll post a link. Much better than a broom. I've got hard wood floors, hence I know dust. And faeries and well...moons?
-- blissmiss, Jun 02 2009

In the old days, they used to spray the roads with water to keep down the dust - what's wrong with that?
-- coprocephalous, Jun 02 2009

//what's wrong with that?// It would instantly freeze/or boil (I'm not sure which) but neither state would have a very good washing action.
-- zen_tom, Jun 02 2009

Hey! What about using Wall-E to collect the dust and make the bricks?!
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 02 2009

It IS cheese!!!
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 02 2009

Prolly that really orange cheese dust that is left on one's fingers when one partakes of too many Cheetos. I know this from watching it happen to others. I would never abuse my body/temple that way ;-)
-- blissmiss, Jun 02 2009

Decadent International Duck Breast Cheeto Fondue:

In a bowl, empty a pack of orange flavour cheetos (UK: cheetos are essentially denser, fine-grain wotsits)
Over this, grate, slice or crumble some soft cheese (mozzarella, feta, Camembert, Brie etc)
Place a few pieces of sliced duck-breast on top for that oh so cultured flavour
Place into the microwave and melt the cheese
Ensparkle with capers
Serve, pretending that it is your national dish.
-- zen_tom, Jun 03 2009

//Decadent International Duck Breast Cheeto Fondue//
[marked-for-vomit]: recipe
-- Jinbish, Jun 03 2009

Quack no!
-- blissmiss, Jun 03 2009

Concentric rings of dynamite ought to take care of the dust. Detonation would start in the center and proceed outwards. This would work for earthly construction sites too. The sticks could be prepackaged in a big rope web that would stretched out across the site.

Alternately, a solar concentrating mirror in lunar orbit could be used to fuse the dust in place, and would be good for many other things too.
-- bungston, Jun 03 2009

[bungston] I'm sure I'm missing something but, how would the explosion propagate in the vacuum?
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 03 2009

/how would the explosion propagate in the vacuum?/

Awesomely well, for lack of air resistance to impede the expanding gases generated in the explosion.
-- bungston, Jun 03 2009

I see that no one has mentioned that brooms need air to work effectively? The dust is mostly swept along by the air inside.

Better to use a leaf blower with a gas tank...or would some kind of ionic stream do the job?
-- Ling, Jun 03 2009

Isn't there a terrible chauvinist joke based on this?

[AWOL] How about a Moonba? [Linky]
-- Dub, Jun 03 2009

[Ling] Instead of a broom use a flat board and push the dust into a deposit, or [link].
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 04 2009

[Ling] Well, a leaf blower is interesting, however, unless they could produce the gas in the Moon, it probably wouldn't be very practical to keep ferrying gas cannisters to blow dust.
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 04 2009

And the dust would keep teasing the astronauts - "Blow me"
-- PauloSargaco, Jun 04 2009

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