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The Mystery of Moon Dust

By Norman Chan

It's not safe to breathe in.

NASA's recently launched LADEE probe may have made headlines in September for its breakthrough laser communications testing, but its primary mission is actually to analyze the dust and molecules on and around the moon. But why are NASA scientists interested in studying moon dust? As Kate Greene writes for the New Yorker, there's a lot we don't know about moon dust and why it floats up to sixty miles above the moon surface--without wind or atmosphere to sustain the clouds. And those microscopic particles can be hazardous; lunar dust particles are sharp and jagged, and reportedly made breathing difficult for astronauts who brought them back during the Apollo missions.