Martian dust could cause lung disease including cancer.

Space suits and boots would become contaminated and bring the dust into the habitats.

How would human missions to Mars mitigate this issue?

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    $\begingroup$ See: space.stackexchange.com/questions/34324/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 5:17
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    $\begingroup$ About tracking in dust on spacesuits - that issue will need addressing anyhow. There will need to be some dust control procedure, because the particles are very fine and tend to hang in the air for a long time. Also they will stick to everything by static cling. Such fine particles are highly irritating to the lungs, aside from the sheer nuisance of that. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Part of the problem is that the Apollo moon suits were made of a woven (glass) fiber cloth. Using this material in a dusty environment is like a chimney sweep wearing white flannel. Mars suits will use much smoother surfaces, usually nonporous panels, for much of their construction. This is not a full solution, but should help a bit. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:40
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    $\begingroup$ also: Remember that Mars dust is both finer and much less clingy than Moon dust, because it has actually been subjected to erosion. Moon dust is very pointy, still in its original impact-and-heat-shattered form. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 8:44
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    $\begingroup$ @PcMan "subject to erosion" means that it is rounder. Which in turn for these particle sizes means that they are more "clingy" (about twice the tensile strength) as it has more contact surface to stick to other surfaces due to cohesion than very rough particles. See ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/link_gateway/2006ApJ...652.1768B/PUB_PDF - figure 5: top: spherical, bottom: irregular. Additionally 'finer' also means better stickyness (larger ratio of contact surface wrt to volume or weight) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


One proposed solution to contamination of a habitat by extra-vehicular activity is a Suitport which eliminates the need to bring the suits inside. The crewmember enters and exits the suit through a door in the back of the suit. The suits remain external to the vehicle/habitat.

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There are obvious issues with suit maintenance and exposure to the external environment, though.

A technical feasibility study can be read at Suitport Feasibility - Development and Test of a Suitport and Space Suit for Human Pressurized Space Suit Donning Tests which contains the following illustration

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There were serious problems with the pdf'ing of this paper but there is still some good info in it.


Research into removing lunar dust from spacesuits and other equipment using electron beams may have a similar application on Mars.

The success of the electron cleaning was dependent on the thickness of the regolith coating, however an average of 75 – 85 percent of the fine particles were removed overall.

The researchers suggest that a hybrid strategy of electron beams and brushes could be used by future astronauts to keep their gear in order.


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