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Living on the moon is surely humanity's goal

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Living on the moon is surely humanity's goal

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By Eddie Wrenn PUBLISHED: 16:16, 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 15:46, 16 July 2012
Living on the moon is surely humanity's goal as we make our first baby steps into space.

But our constant neighbour may not treat us so well - for scientists now think that the very dust on our luna partner is poisonous to humans.

The surface of the moon is coated in a layer of thick, undisturbed dust, which is not only ultra-fine - and therefore easy to inhale - but can increase the risk of various cancers, similar to breathing asbestos and volcanic ash.

Researchers from the University of Tennessee, referring to Neil Armstrong's first steps onto the moon, said: 'The Apollo astronauts reported undesirable effects affecting the skin, eyes and airways that could be related to exposure to the dust that had adhered to their space suits during their extravehicular activities and was subsequently brought into their spacecraft.'

Humans have only spent, at max, two or three days on the moon in total, and this time has often been spent in spaceships or airtight suits.

But with long-term exposure, the team says that inhalation would be harmful - even when wearing protective gear, as dust trails the astronauts back into living quarters.

Once inside the lungs the super-fine, sharp-edged lunar dust could bring health issues, affecting the respiratory and cardiovascular system, causing airway inflammation and increasing the risks of various cancers.
The dust -subjected to millenia of UV radiation, would prentrate deep into the lungs, and micro-gravity would only help in bringing the dust deep into the lungs.
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