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Evaluation of various cleaning methods to remove bacillus spores from spacecraft hardware materialsA detailed study was made of the biological cleaning effectiveness, defined in terms of the ability to remove bacterial spores, of a number of methods used to clean hardware surfaces. Aluminum (Al 6061) and titanium (Ti 6Al-4V) were chosen for the study as they were deemed the two materials most likely to be used in spacecraft extraterrestrial sampler construction. Metal coupons (1 cm x 2.5 cm) were precleaned and inoculated with 5.8 x 10(3) cultivable Bacillus subtilis spores, which are commonly found on spacecraft surfaces and in the assembly environments. The inoculated coupons were subsequently cleaned using: (1) 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe; (2) water wipe; (3) multiple-solvent flight-hardware cleaning procedures used at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); (4) Johnson Space Center-developed ultrapure water rinse; and (5) a commercial, semi-aqueous, multiple-solvent (SAMS) cleaning process. The biological cleaning effectiveness was measured by agar plate assay, sterility test (growing in liquid media), and epifluorescent microscopy. None of the cleaning protocols tested completely removed viable spores from the surface of the aluminum. In contrast, titanium was capable of being cleaned to sterility by two methods, the JPL standard and the commercial SAMS cleaning process. Further investigation showed that the passivation step employed in the JPL standard method is an effective surface sterilant on both metals but not compatible with aluminum. It is recommended that titanium (Ti 6Al-4V) be considered superior to aluminum (Al 6061) for use in spacecraft sampling hardware, both for its potential to be cleaned to sterilization and for its ability to withstand the most effective cleaning protocols.
Document ID
20050150199
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Venkateswaran, Kasthuri
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Chung, Shirley
Allton, Judith
Kern, Roger
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Astrobiology
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
ISSN: 1531-1074
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other

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