When American astronauts first walked the dusty lunar surface in 1969, they returned to their ship's command module with hay fever symptoms. And with numerous "kind words" addressed to a very small, blackish-gray substance that filled all the holes on the outer side of the spacesuits, thoroughly clogging up the mechanisms. Today we know that the pioneers got off very easily.
Lunar dust is fundamentally different from terrestrial dust, as it was formed in the absence of atmosphere, wind and moisture. For millions of years, micrometeorites crushed the lunar regolith without resistance, it was irradiated by cosmic radiation, deformed by the strongest temperature drops. As a result, a substance was formed with a very small granule size, strong adhesion, chemically reactive and, in addition, with a high static charge.
Scientists from Stony Brook University modeled the lunar soil and set up a series of experiments in which all experimental living samples died. It turned out that moon dust creates the effect of silicosis, a severe lung disease that affects miners or people in regions with dust storms. But the lunar dust turned out to be much more aggressive and, as it accumulated, killed 90% of the cells in the human lung tissue faster than observers reacted to the changes that appeared in it.
It was even worse for mice, whose neurons, after contact with moon dust, received irreversible DNA damage. Natural death from cancer awaited them. Scientists have not yet understood the mechanism of this process, but it is already clear that the likelihood of tumor formation when working with dust will be extremely high. Future colonists, no matter how protected they are, are in grave danger.