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Moon Dust Dilemma

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#3583
Fun:*** (2.69)
Difficulty:** (1.19)
Category:Science
Submitted By:bobbrt*****

 

 

 



NASA is on a mission to collect dust from the moon's surface. A team is put together to design an apparatus that an astronaut can use to accomplish this task. One member of the team designs a type of vacuum cleaner which can be used to suck up and collect the dust. He is immediately fired for his incompetence. What was wrong with his plan?



Answer

Since the moon has no atmosphere, it is already under vacuum. The reason a vacuum cleaner works is that the pressure drop between the air in the room and the vacuum bag causes air to rush into the bag, carrying some dirt with it. Since there is no pressure drop between the vacuum chamber and the moon's surface, you could not suck up moon dust.
Also, there is no air on the moon to carry the dust along, anyway. A solid is not affected by a vacuum. If it were, the moon would have exploded by now.

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