1. You shouldn’t breathe it in. Following a lunar walk, astronaut Harrison Schmitt noted the smell of Moon dust in the air, like gunpowder. NASA pathologist Russell Kerschmann warned that prolonged exposure to Moon dust could seriously damage human lungs.
2. It wears through spacesuits. Moon dust is very abrasive and clingy. Apollo 17 astronauts had problems moving their arms properly because lunar dust had clogged up the joints, while it wore through three layers of Kevlar-like armour on Harrison Schmitt’s Moon boot.
3. It’s magnetic. Because tiny specks of iron are present in the glass shell of each lunar dust particle, magnets can be used to filter the dust out of the air and off sensitive equipment. The dust that makes up lunar soil can also be quickly microwaved into flat sheets, meaning roads and landing pads can easily be created for future missions.
4. It’s actually mostly glass. Lunar dust is mostly made up of very fine particles of silicon dioxide glass, plus iron, calcium and magnesium, as well as other trace minerals. It’s all been shattered and ground into a fine powder over billions of years of meteorite impacts.
5. Astronauts have tasted it. In the interests of science (as well as pure human curiosity), Apollo astronauts have touched, smelled and even tasted Moon dust. Apparently, it’s as fine as flour but abrasive, plus it both smells and tastes like gunpowder. It’s also clingy and hard to brush off.