Moon Dusts Give Astronauts DNA Damage


via Wikimedia Commons

Astronauts investigating the moon

There are many famous stories about the first person on the moon, life on Mars, global warming on earth, and much more. All of those stories are related to planets and space. Planets are a part of our solar system and affect the way everyone lives, including animals, plants, and of course humans. However, not all planets like earth are good for human survival.Recent studies have shown that astronauts that venture on the moon have the risk of permanent DNA damage, and who knows what could come next.

How was this first discovered? During 1972 astronaut Harrison Schmitt accidentally breathed in the undefined harmful moon dust that he and his commander had tracked back into the “Challenger” spaceship . For an entire day, Schmitt described that he had a “lunar hay fever”. His eyes would water, his throat would throb, and he would break out sneezing every couple of minutes. Schmitt wasn’t allergic to anything on the moon, but scientists discovered that moon dust could be harmful to astronauts. They discovered that moon dust, especially the smallest ones, were extremely harmful to astronauts in multiple ways. One of the main problem is a permanent damage to one’s DNA.

How could this be possible? For starters, unlike earth’s dust, moon dust is small and sharp. This is because on the moon, there is no wind and dust never erodes. According to scientists, the dust instead is in small pieces that are sharp and could easily slice into an astronauts lungs if breathed in too deeply. Another reason why moon dust can ruin DNA is because moon dust can float with no atmosphere around it. Instead, solar winds and the charged particles carry linear soil. Because this happens, this dust is able to cling to things. It isn’t a good thing that this dust can cling so easily because studies have shown that is can ruin clothes, jam zippers, but most importantly, harm the human body if it is taken in by astronauts.

Astronauts were unaware of this problem for a while, but when discovered, a protection upgrade was quickly taken into action. Not knowing if a toxic chemical is going into your body is a scary thing, but astronauts must fight the fear in order to continue to find out new things up in space. Permanent DNA damage isn’t a good thing, but is it worth getting information to save a lifetime, or finding out something new that could improve everything? These are questions people going into space have to ask themselves all the time. It is an unknown job that takes a lot of bravery to complete. So, what is the actual answer… Is a life-saving discovery more important than not harming our explorers?