Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lunar Lawn Mower Puts Moon Dirt To Good Use

It seems everybody wants to go to the Moon these days. Yet even as some build ships to get there, others are trying to figure how to survive once they do.
The latest problem seems to be what to do with all the Moon dust scattered across the surface. The stuff sticks to everything, carries electro-static charges, jams motors and gears, and is generally a pain in the butt to deal with on the surface.
Plus, being able to use it as a raw material would really cut down on supply costs.
Enter Larry Taylor, Distinguished Professor of Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee, with a suggestion so simple, it borders on stupid: Microwave the stuff.

Taylor, who readily admits he is "one of those weird people who like to stick things in ordinary kitchen microwave ovens to see what happens", discovered a 30-second blast in a 250 watt microwave rendered the dust into a solid material, usable for building, paving or making just about anything you wanted to with it.

Taylor said the only limit "is imagination."

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