Hope you didn’t just think we could move up and colonize the moon once we permanently screw up Earth. New research suggests that Ernie was right all along: The moon might be a nice place to visit, but living there might actually kill you. There’s a good chance that moon dust is toxic to humans.


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The worst thing about lunar dust is that it’s very fine-grained and the grains are sharp. The tiny particulate size means it gets everywhere — living quarters on the moon would inevitably have a fine coating of dust, which would hitchhike in on protective gear and be difficult to get rid of. And once it ends up in your lungs (which it would), it could inflame airways and potentially increase cancer risk.

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The sharp edges also mean that the dust can irritate your skin and eyes. Particles on the moon don’t get buffeted around and eroded by wind or water, so they’re not smooth like grains of sand; they’re more like a pile of very tiny arrowheads. That’s pretty abrasive to the skin, the eyeballs, the mucus membranes, and basically any other part of your body that you wouldn’t want to plunge into a bucket of minuscule knives. Oh, and as if that’s not bad enough: The dust has been out on the surface of the moon sucking up UV and proton radiation, which it will then deliver right into your lungs or the cuts it makes on your skin. Happy breathing!

Now, to be fair, the researchers have been working with simulated moon dust, not the real thing (which is kind of, you know, hard to source). But this seems to throw a wrench into enthusiastic plans for lunar colonization, Mr. Gingrich.

However, none of this answers the most important question: Is “Poison Moon” a great name for a band, or is it SO great that it’s actually a little cliche?

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