India's Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander barely kicked up any moon dust. Here's why that matters

Lunar landers and dust seem to be a significant engineering issue.

The artists' illustrations we see of a SpaceX StarShip sitting end-down on the Moon's surface seem unlikely to be realistic for an actual design - even a first step design. Not only are there a lot of dust issues that design would exacerbate, there is the issue of why haul all that airframe weight back and forth between the lunar surface and lunar orbit when there is no air there?

A lunar orbit-to-surface-and-return shuttle will probably be a specific mission design, rather than a one-design-does-all Star Ship. It would just be a lot more efficient from the standpoint of fuel used and tons delivered to the surface.

And dust is going to be a problem in need of a solution. Rocket exhaust in airless environments does not lose momentum with distance, it just spreads out. So, rocket exhausts pointing downward at an angle are going to hit a wider area, and displace less dust per square foot, but still move a lot of dust. That dust doesn't form clouds suspended in air, because there is no air. So, it mostly acts the same as tiny rocks that get blown in a straight line and promptly land back on the surface and pretty much stay where they land. Unless there is some sort of electrostatic charge on the dust, which could create a layer suspended slightly above the ground.

There does seem to be some electrostatic effect on lunar dust as the day/night "terminator" crosses the surface. So it may also be a consideration for rocket exhaust.

At some point, I expect that prepared landing pads will be constructed at lunar bases to minimize dust issues due to landings and lift-offs, because any dust moved would potentially affect the fixed base elements like solar panels, door gaskets, etc.

But, whatever surface is made for a landing pad also needs to be robust against the effects of the rocket exhausts from the vehicles using it. We can't have it protected by water deluge systems on the Moon. And we aren't going to be using water-based concrete on the Moon, either. Best bet is that we will make fused regolith surfaces using machines with heating elements running on stored solar energy. So, whatever the eventual integrity of such a surface turns out to be, that will probably result in design limits for how much rocket exhaust per square foot can impinge on that surface. And that will probably be a major design parameter for the eventual long-term lunar lander vehicles.