That dust, the Apollo crewmen found when they went out to play in it, did some strange things: it rose above the surface when disturbed and hung there far longer than could be explained by the moon’s weak gravity; it crept deep into the weave and cracks of virtually anything it touched and clung there as if adhesively attached.
- The soil was unusually chemically reactive — not something that was expected from a scrap of a world that was supposed to be largely inert. And it did a lousy job of conducting heat. The surface of the moon on the sunlit side might be close to the boiling point of water, but just a few feet down it would be far below freezing.
- For 40 years, geologists struggled to understand just what gave lunar soil its pixie-dust properties. Geologist Marek Zbik of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, may finally have cracked it. The answer: nanoparticles — vanishingly tiny flecks of mass, some no bigger than molecules, that have all the odd qualities of moondust and more.