"Why the Next Lunar Astronauts May Have to Worry About Electric Shocks"

Will have to admit this is a thing I hadn't ever thought about.

Why the Next Lunar Astronauts May Have to Worry About Electric Shocks
JoAnna Wendel
Yesterday 5:13PM



Although this particular scenario is entirely hypothetical, some scientists worry that the Moon’s charged and dusty surface could spark on instruments or spacesuits, similar to how you might get shocked by touching a doorknob after walking across a carpeted floor—except on the Moon, there’d be no actual contact required.

The Moon’s surface carries an electric charge because it’s exposed to the solar wind, streams of charged particles—negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions—constantly spewing from the Sun. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from these highly charged particles, but the Moon lacks a magnetic field. These free-flowing electrons and ions cause the Moon’s surface to become charged.

Along with the charge, there’s also the dust that makes up the top layer of the Moon’s surface. This dust gets everywhere, and it’s jagged and abrasive. On a spacesuit, dust can act as pathway for the flow of electrons, which could lead to an electric shock, according to Joseph Wang, a plasma physicist at the University of Southern California.

Learned of that article via, https://futurism.com/the-byte/moons-surface-electrocute-astronauts

Cautiously Optimistic
So why haven’t astronauts been zapped just yet? That’s because the areas they visited during past missions were bathed in direct sunlight, according to Wang, and the photons from that light helped balance out the surface’s otherwise negative charge, making shocks far less likely.

Future missions, however, will see astronauts visiting the Moon’s south pole, which gets far less sunlight.

Jim Rice, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, told Gizmodo he doesn’t think electrocution should be an actual concern for those astronauts. But he also didn’t rule out issues with larger future operations, such as ones that might involve bulldozing large amounts of charged materials around on the Moon.


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