[meteorite-list] Topics for "collection of wisdoms"

From: Darren Garrison <cynapse_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 10:46:46 -0500
Message-ID: <bubtv219dn94bmrge4ijns3f4m51rsoqpg_at_4ax.com>

On Fri, 16 Mar 2007 22:17:22 -0600, you wrote:

>or sub-groups of stony meteorites. I'm curious to know too... Most
>articles I have read on Martian and Lunar pieces say they are not
>attracted to a magnet. Is this known to be without exception?

This seems to fit here:


Magnetic 'elephant trunk' sucks up lunar soil
21:57 16 March 2007
NewScientist.com news service
David Shiga, Houston

Elephants' trunks are remarkable tools. Boasting more muscles than the human
body, the appendages can knock down trees and suck in several gallons of water,
spraying it into their owners' mouths or over their vast bodies.

Now, researchers say elephant trunk-like devices may be useful on the Moon, as
well. And they have developed a prototype of a magnetic, trunk-like tube that
can collect lunar soil without kicking up hazardous dust.

Future astronauts living on the Moon will need lots of water, oxygen and other
resources that can be extracted from the lunar soil, or regolith.

But collecting the large quantities needed with front-end loaders and dump
trucks could throw up a lot of dust. That could cause a host of problems, since
the tiny, jagged dust particles could clog machinery and even harm astronauts'
health if inhaled (see Martian dust may be hazardous to your health).

In a bid to solve the problem, Benjamin Eimer and Lawrence Taylor, both of the
University of Tennessee in Knoxville, US, are developing a magnetic device
designed to collect soil without creating clouds of the powdery dust. "This idea
is akin to a leaf sucker," Eimer told New Scientist.

Magnetic coils
The idea is to build a flexible tube with magnetic coils spaced at regular
intervals along its length. Because lunar soil particles contain a lot of iron,
the magnetic field produced by the coils would suck the soil into the tube and
whisk it along its length.

A relatively small tube would be used by an astronaut or robot to pick up soil
and feed it into a larger magnetic 'pipeline' leading back to storage facilities
or processing plants at the lunar base. Many of these flexible tubes could be
attached to the same pipeline ? like veins in a leaf, allowing soil to be
collected from a large area.

And because the magnetic field channels the soil into the centre of the tube and
keeps it away from the tube's walls, it would prevent dust from escaping. "You
can move massive amounts of lunar regolith without kicking up all the dust,"
Eimer says.

Early tests suggest the plan will work. He and Taylor have built a small
prototype a few centimetres long that successfully picks up simulated lunar

Daniel Durda of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US, says
developing ways to keep dust to a minimum is important. "It's a real concern,"
he told New Scientist. "Something like this is probably better than a bunch of
bulldozers picking it up and dumping it."

Temperature swings
The research was presented on Thursday at the Lunar and Planetary Society
Conference in Houston, Texas.

Another study presented on Thursday suggests burying lunar habitats could help
regulate their temperature. On the airless Moon, the surface bakes to over 100?
Celsius during the day and plunges to a frigid -150? C at night.

But these wild temperature swings could be eliminated by burying a lunar habitat
with bags of lunar soil, according to a study led by Bela Boldoghy of
Ferroelektric Engineering Pan Konceptum in Budapest, Hungary.

Under 10 to 15 metres of lunar soil, the temperature would hover without further
intervention around -20? C. Although that is bitterly cold, the stable
temperature would make it much easier to regulate the base's thermostat.

Pre-bagged soil
"Minus 20 is not too difficult," study co-author Tamas Varga of the VTPatent
Agency in Budapest told New Scientist. "A lot of places on Earth are -20

Burying the habitat with pre-bagged soil instead of simply dumping loose soil on
top of it would also avoid kicking up dust, the researchers say, adding that the
messy job of bagging the soil could be done far away from the base.

Durda says seesawing temperatures would not be a problem if the base was built
near the Moon's poles, where there are places permanently in shadow. But in
other regions it would be an issue, he says, and burying the habitat is one way
to deal with the temperature swings.

Regolith can also block hazardous energetic particles from space, he adds, so
burying "would have that added benefit of radiation protection".
Received on Mon 19 Mar 2007 11:46:46 AM PDT

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