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View Full Version : Moon glass bubble structure explains lunar soil behavior



Swift
2012-Jun-12, 08:36 PM
From R&D magazine on-line (http://www.rdmag.com/News/2012/06/Geology-Nanotechnology-Microscopy-Moon-glass-bubble-discovery-explains-weird-lunar-soil-behavior/?et_cid=2693759&et_rid=54734303&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.rdmag.com%2fNews%2f2012%2f 06%2fGeology-Nanotechnology-Microscopy-Moon-glass-bubble-discovery-explains-weird-lunar-soil-behavior%2f)


A stunning discovery by QUT soil scientist Marek Zbik of nano particles inside bubbles of glass in lunar soil could solve the mystery of why the moon's surface topsoil has many unusual properties.

Dr Zbik, from Queensland University of Technology's Science and Engineering Faculty, said scientists had long observed the strange behaviour of lunar soil but had not taken much notice of the nano and submicron particles found in the soil and their source was unknown.

Dr Zbik took the lunar soil samples to Taiwan where he could study the glass bubbles without breaking them using a new technique for studying nano materials call synchrotron-based nano tomography to look at the particles. Nano tomography is a transmission X-ray microscope which enables 3D images of nano particles to be made.

"We were really surprised at what we found," Dr Zbik said.

"Instead of gas or vapour inside the bubbles, which we would expect to find in such bubbles on Earth, the lunar glass bubbles were filled with a highly porous network of alien-looking glassy particles that span the bubbles' interior.

"It appears that the nano particles are formed inside bubbles of molten rocks when meteorites hit the lunar surface. Then they are released when the glass bubbles are pulverised by the consequent bombardment of meteorites on the moon's surface.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jun-12, 09:56 PM
Sort of like an expanded foam bean? If there's no gas inside to expand the particle into a bean, are they suggesting that it's a vacuum tensegrity balloon with an expansion caused by crystallization lattices? Or is it a rock vapor that re-condenses into glass fiber/foam. He says it has unusual quantum properties... Does that mean we're looking at a connection with vacuum energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy) and the Casimir Effect?

Swift
2012-Jun-13, 01:57 AM
Sort of like an expanded foam bean? If there's no gas inside to expand the particle into a bean, are they suggesting that it's a vacuum tensegrity balloon with an expansion caused by crystallization lattices? Or is it a rock vapor that re-condenses into glass fiber/foam.
Something like expanded foam was my thought too. And I'd guess rock vapor (or gases that were in the rock that were vaporized - the moon does have a small amount of water, for example); but I don't know if that is the thinking of the authors.

He says it has unusual quantum properties... Does that mean we're looking at a connection with vacuum energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy) and the Casimir Effect?
I don't know that you have to get very exotic. It is widely recognized in many materials that nano-scale crystals have different properties that the corresponding bulk materials (and by "bulk" you might be talking micrometers versus nanometers). The threshold varies, but it is in the 10 to 100 nm range. For example, a material that might be a semiconductor as a bulk material, may be metallic or an insulator as a nanomaterial.

publiusr
2012-Jun-15, 09:55 PM
I seem to remember a do-it-yourself type program on the Science Channel where the hardest thing they tried to make was a simple aquatic ROV.

They had a type of dense foam:
http://www.onepetro.org/mslib/servlet/onepetropreview?id=OTC-11049-MS&soc=OTC
I wonder if this dust is similar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntactic_foam

Jerry
2012-Jun-26, 11:19 AM
We've made 'moon dust' burning oxidized fuels at high temperatures in a near vacuum. (This also creates buckyballs) The properties are real nasty - microfine particles that can wreak havoc in your lungs. These types of dusts tear up valves and such in short order.

publiusr
2012-Jun-30, 07:29 PM
The best solution are to have lots of disposable covers on suits that can be changed out quickly