Simulated moon dust leads to cell death and DNA alternation, study says

A new study suggests that moon dust can be damaging to DNA and in some cases even cause cell death.
By Tyler MacDonald | May 07, 2018
It looks like astronauts hoping for extended stays on the moon are going to be disappointed a new study suggests that moon dust can be harmful when inhaled, according to Gizmodo. Although scientists have long suggested that moon dust can be problematic to health, the new study is the first to suggest that it can cause cell death and damage DNA.

The new data stems from an experiment that grew both human and mouse cells in the laboratory and exposed them to simulated lunar dust. The results revealed that in both cases, moon dust can destroy the cells or damage their DNA.

"Very small particles in the breathable range or smaller can interact directly with cells," said Bruce Demple, a professor at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and senior author on the study.

Although the research is limited because it examines simulated moon dust, it supports older research that suggests that moon dust can pose dangers to health.

The team hopes that the recent data will help them get their hands on the real lunar dust that NASA has from the Apollo missions to determine its safety before astronauts head back to the moon.

The findings were published in GeoHealth.

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