Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lunar Dust Returns Home (sort of)

(February 11, 2012) After over 16 years of experiments, awe, and admiration, our Apollo 17 lunar dust, generously loaned to us by the wonderful people at NASA, is on its way home (to NASA, that is, not the moon). Every time this lunar soil came out of the safety of its hiding place, a crowd inevitably gathered. Always so much ado for such a little pile of dirt! In our defense, how many people can say they have handled, or even looked at a real piece of the moon, besides in a museum or through a telescope. Lunar material is so rare and scarce that there is an entire industry dedicated to creating lunar simulants. In fact, we have buckets of lunar and martian simulants, but nothing beats the real thing!

Update: Forgot to add in, this is what the dust looks like up close! (ShuA2)

Actual lunar dust seen under a scanning electron microscope