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The dark side of the Moon (i.e., the side not currently illuminated by the Sun) has high static potential. But I have heard that hairs can raise if humans are exposed to such situation. But if I managed to land on the Moon, will my hair raise on my head or on my body?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, I edited the question to change dark to far originally, because "dark side" is popularly used to refer to the far side of the moon, but in this case it is literally the side of the moon that is presently dark that is being referred to: thunderbolts.info/tpod/2010/arch10/100419distribution.htm $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Oct 4 '13 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't you want to wear a helmet? I mean I appreciate your eagerness to sacrifice your imaginary self for science, but wear at least a sombrero then and go with style :P $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Oct 4 '13 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ It could be a really big helmet - plenty of breathing room. That said, the answer will probably depend a bit on the type of space-suit worn and how conductive it might be. $\endgroup$ – john3103 Oct 4 '13 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe we should assume that you don't need to breath. $\endgroup$ – Undo Oct 4 '13 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a reference for the "the dark side of the moon has a lot of static" comment? I don't disbelieve you, but I find the statement interesting (why would lack of sunlight increase static?) and would be interested in reading more on the topic. $\endgroup$ – WendiKidd Oct 4 '13 at 20:29
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Not if you wanna survive. I joked a bit in the comment, but slightly more seriously, your Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit would have to be electrically insulated to prevent electrostatic charge buildup and assume a role of one giant capacitor. And that goes for both ends, not just the outside layer. For one, your life support system would use all kinds of electrically powered equipment to control your internal environment, each of those would have to be insulated and/or grounded to prevent internal charge buildup and shock hazard upon contact with your body.

Merely designing charge neutral outer layers of the EVA suit likely wouldn't be enough for three reasons:

  • The lunar dust is electrostatically charged,
  • it is magnetic due to the accumulation of nanometer sized iron (Fe) dust particles, and
  • your own movement will cause friction between dust particles and cause triboelectric charge.

Your life support system and parts of suit internal components would likely be partially or in whole metallic and magnetic. The EVA suit could also photo-electrostatically charge due to photoemission of electrons from the surface of the dust particles by UV radiation, though granted, we're supposed to be on the dark side of the Moon, so the last one with your suit being exposed to UV radiation at different angles, forming regions of differently charged surface wouldn't really be in effect.

All the remaining three processes on the list would however cause fine grain dust to adhere strongly to your suit due to magnetism and electrostatic charge. Additionally, this dust is fairly sharp due to the lack of weathering processes on the Moon, as it's mostly fractured silica surfaces and could lodge itself to your suit's surface, nearly permanently embedding itself into its top layer. The Apollo astronauts had quite a problem with brushing dust off before returning to the Lunar Module (LM), and were reporting smell similar to burning electronics in LM due to the dust's strong electrostatic charge.

So, even if your suit's outer layer was electrostatically neutral on its own, dust clinging to it wouldn't be, will act as the carrier of strong electrostatic charge or help in the process of its formation causing triboelectric charge on your EVA suit's top layer to form, and could discharge through the suit, cause high voltage electric shock or even rip through the fabric of your spacesuit and kill you otherwise.

So all this insulation, grounding, or even actively discharging / degaussing would play a vital role in keeping you alive, your life support system functioning and in the process preventing your hair to raise due to electrostatic buildup, regardless of how big your helmet is and actually allowing that to happen space-wise. If you'd feel much of electrical current anywhere on your skin, your equipment has likely malfunctioned and without intervention, your hair raising and ruining your hairstyle should be the least of your worries!

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