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39 votes
Accepted

Why do the boot prints on the moon appear bright in some photographs or film?

If you take a good look at contrast between the boot print and the unaffected/untouched dust on the lunar surface the unaffected/untouched dust is loose, undulating and has a matt (or matte, in some ...
Fred's user avatar
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28 votes
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Can the Mars lander's/rover's solar panels be cleaned?

Reasons not to provide mechanical means to clean solar panels on Mars: and this is the primary reason: Wind on Mars occasionally blows the dust away. This means dust is not a major issue, but a minor ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 127k
26 votes

Why is dust such a problem in microgravity? Wouldn't proper air circulation and filtration take care of it?

When you have gravity heavy particulates like shavings, crumbs, large dust granules, etc. will fall to the ground where they can be cleaned or form part of the environment. In microgravity everything ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.2k
25 votes

How exactly did the floor of an Apollo LM look like after EVA(s)? Seeking photo!

Looking through the images on the Apollo Archive, which I believe to contain all publicly available images and checking the ones at the end of EVAs I was not really able to find anything satisfactory. ...
Hans's user avatar
  • 3,566
18 votes

When a planet loses atmosphere, where does it go?

Escape from planetary atmospheres of the terrestrial planets in our solar system is dominated by ions in absolute numbers, as opposed to neutral particle species. Particles can be any type of molecule ...
AtmosphericPrisonEscape's user avatar
17 votes

How exactly did the floor of an Apollo LM look like after EVA(s)? Seeking photo!

How exactly did the floor of an Apollo Lunar Module look like after EVA(s) during an actual Apollo mission (before or during launch from the Lunar surface into Lunar orbit)? Besides, by any chance, ...
Rob's user avatar
  • 3,266
16 votes
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Curiosity is still dirty! How will the ExoMARS Rover keep its solar panels dust-free and collecting sufficient power?

They will likely be relying on two things: Since the rate at which dust will accumulate on the solar panels is pretty well known, they can estimate a lifespan of the rover. All space probes have ...
Phiteros's user avatar
  • 5,626
16 votes
Accepted

Martian dust getting into habitats

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 ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
12 votes

Why did moon dust not cause problems on Apollo during the return flight from the Moon?

Moon dust was a problem. Lunar Module dust, dirt and debris contamination presented numerous challenges for several of the Apollo missions. The Apollo 12 crew observed that at 1/6-g the cabin ...
Polygnome's user avatar
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12 votes
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Can dust be in orbit around a spacecraft which orbits the Earth or Moon?

A starting point for checking orbital stability is the Sphere of Influence for short term stability (or rather, to select a suitable frame a reference in the patched conic approximation), and the Hill ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Choosing a specific region to live on Mars, how important will the degree of dust there be, compared with the availability of water?

Water is extremely useful on Mars. You can use it to generate oxygen directly via electrolysis and the hydrogen byproduct can be reacted with carbon dioxide to make even more water. We drink water. ...
user2702772's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why is dust such a problem in microgravity? Wouldn't proper air circulation and filtration take care of it?

Getting dust in one's eyes is a mild inconvenience at best. However, what happens if the dust particle lodges itself in a person's eye just when that person needs to do something critical? What ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 13.1k
11 votes

Are Martian winds as strong as portrayed in "The Martian"?

Andy Weir himself considers this the biggest scientific inaccuracy in the movie in an interview with NPR he stated: The biggest inaccuracy in the movie is straight from the book, so it's also a big ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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11 votes
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When Chang'e-3 landed on the moon, did LADEE notice?

It did perform the observations, but nothing was detected. Here is an article that covers this Surprisingly, the LADEE science teams' preliminary evaluation of the data has not revealed any ...
kert's user avatar
  • 1,320
10 votes

Why do the boot prints on the moon appear bright in some photographs or film?

Reflection Yes, as Fred points out, the boot prints act like crude mirrors. If you shine a flashlight at a mirror in a random direction, and place yourself at another random direction, the mirror will ...
Lawnmower Man's user avatar
8 votes

Why is dust such a problem in microgravity? Wouldn't proper air circulation and filtration take care of it?

Dust will damage machinery through more than just conducting electricity or hindering passive cooling. Fans in particular are vulnerable. Dust can slow down fans by adding weight to the blades or ...
bta's user avatar
  • 281
8 votes

Why do the boot prints on the moon appear bright in some photographs or film?

Answer: Levitating Moon Dust and a walking capacitor. Previously submitted answers explain the brightness of footprints as specular (mirror-like) reflection, This begs the question of how a bootprint ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 21.4k
7 votes

Will the Mars helicopter be able to remove the dust from solar panels?

The Mars 2020 rover uses a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for power, so it doesn’t have any solar panels. It looks like the helicopter has its solar panel on top of the rotor. Flight ...
CourageousPotato's user avatar
7 votes

When a planet loses atmosphere, where does it go?

Basically it is blown away by the solar wind, headed to interstellar space. A light particle in orbit around the Sun will tend to be pushed further out with time because of both solar wind and ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
6 votes
Accepted

Why do InSight's solar panels have tall vertical ridges between segments - will these trap dust?

Those are the radial spars that give the solar array rigidity once it's fully deployed. Image Source: The Space Technology 8 Mission; S.F. Franklin, et al. The landing site for InSight was selected ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
6 votes

Can the Mars lander's/rover's solar panels be cleaned?

Answering the "what would work?" part of the question: I would use an electret haired brush which barely touches the surface of the solar panels. Electret filters are very effective in ...
Louis van Rijn's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How thick is the dust layer on Phobos?

Nobody knows! We've never done radar sounding of Phobos, and we have no idea what lies beneath its layer of dust. We can surmise minimum depth by looking at craters - the estimate range is 5 - 100 ...
user19742's user avatar
  • 957
6 votes

Why did moon dust not cause problems on Apollo during the return flight from the Moon?

If the CM and LEM were built in clean rooms, it wasn't because of dust itself being a problem. They were trying to prevent materials from Earth contaminating the Moon rock samples. The Moon dust ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 127k
6 votes
Accepted

Why did the Apollo 15 LM violently shake & raise dust after the contact probes touched the lunar surface?

Looking at this photo https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo_15_Engine_Bell.jpg It seems there is a local terrain elevation (a hill) right in the middle of LM final landing spot with engine bell ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
6 votes

Perseverance individual sample collection post-mission; what stops them from blowing away or getting covered and hidden by dust?

Quite a lot to unpack here as several topics are brought up, but the answers are pretty interesting: It might take centuries for dust to cover up the sample tubes Martian dust storms are not as bad ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
6 votes

Dust on Ingenuity solar panel

This tweet by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer who is usually pretty in the know says: JPL reports that Ingenuity's flight shook some of the dust off its solar panels, so it has more power now. This ...
Freddie R's user avatar
  • 2,544
6 votes

Why is dust such a problem in microgravity? Wouldn't proper air circulation and filtration take care of it?

AFAIK, the main problem is static electricity, dust tends to stick to everything with a minimum charge, my personal guess is that if not properly handled the ventilation system could make it worse ...
luiscla27's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes

How strong is the electric charge capacity of Martian dust storms?

As a Mars dust devil guy, I can say that the ubiquitous dust is NOT generally considered sharp-edged. Almost all of it is one of several clay minerals. Due to the absence of open water and given that ...
DrDirt's user avatar
  • 121
5 votes

How can Mars have dust storms with such a thin atmosphere?

Although I'm a Mars Dust Devil researcher, my work is mostly conducted on terrestrial desert analogs (so I'd want to check my details if this were crucial). My understanding is that: The dust is re-...
DrDirt's user avatar
  • 121

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