Study finds moon dust toxic to humans

Study finds moon dust toxic to humans
Photo credit: NASA

A new study has found moon dust poses serious health risks to astronauts. 

The study, published in the Journal of Geohealth, examined the effects of lunar dust on human cells. 

According to Live Science Harrison Schmitt, an astronaut on Apollo 17, accidentally breathed in moon dust when he visited the moon in 1972. 

As a result, Schmitt suffered from what he called "lunar hayfever" for a day; sneezing fits, sore throat and watery eyes. 

NASA scientists now understand the cause of the "hayfever" wasn't linked to allergies but rather pieces of moon dust. 

The study found a single scoop of replica moon dust could kill up to 90 percent of brain cells when fully exposed to it. 

Due to the moon's lack of atmosphere, without any wind, the dust never erodes.

It remains sharp and abrasive and has the potential to slice into an astronaut's lungs if inhaled too deeply. 

Moon dust floats and can be electrostatically charged, which allows it to cling to spacesuits and ruin clothing. 

The study, conducted by researchers at Stony Brook University in New York, found the chances of astronauts visiting the moon being exposed to this dust were high. 

However, NASA has been considering the issue for a long time and is working on several methods to mitigate the dust exposure.