NASA Solves the Mystery of How Matter Moves on Exotic WorldsHow dust particles…

NASA Solves the Mystery of How Matter Moves on Exotic Worlds

How dust particles on the Moon’s surface levitate and transport themselves across vast distances have baffled scientists for more than 50 years now — and has been used to explain the Moon’s ‘horizon glow.’ But, it seems that a team of scientists from NASA solved the mystery.

“This new ‘patched charge model’ resolved a fundamental mechanism of dust charging and transport, which has been puzzling scientists for decades,” explained researcher Xu Wang, from NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California. The journal Geophysical Research Letters published the study.

The team wanted to figure out if these dust particles are suspended by an electrostatic force. Wang, together with Mihaly Horanyi at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and their team of researchers conducted lab experiments to see how micron-sized dust particles would behave when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation or electrically-charged gasses (or plasmas).

The team discovered, in both cases, the dust would actually leap by a few centimeters above the surface. On the Moon, the strange properties of its dust combined with UV radiation or plasma from the Sun can loft single particles and, sometimes, even large dust clusters up above the surface.

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