Magnetic space tube

The tube, which is sort of like an elephant's trunk or one of those leaf suckers, would suck up lunar soil containing water, oxygen and other resources to be extracted by astronauts. They'd need to gather and transport large amounts of the stuff without stirring up jagged moon shards and hazardous dust, so bulldozer-like equipment is definitely out of the question.

The tube's coils would create a magnetic field that attracts the iron-laden soil, keeping it neatly centered to be distributed to storage facilities or processing plants via a pipeline system. Assuming the tube rules at collecting a massive supply, the soil can then be bagged to stack on top of lunar habitats to help regulate unpredictable temperatures and block radiation from hazardous space particles.

Source: space.newscientist.comAdded: 10 May 2007