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Respiratory Toxicity of Lunar Highland DustLunar dust exposures occurred during the Apollo missions while the crew was on the lunar surface and especially when microgravity conditions were attained during rendezvous in lunar orbit. Crews reported that the dust was irritating to the eyes and in some cases respiratory symptoms were elicited. NASA s vision for lunar exploration includes stays of 6 months on the lunar surface hence the health effects of periodic exposure to lunar dust need to be assessed. NASA has performed this assessment with a series of in vitro and in vivo tests on authentic lunar dust. Our approach is to "calibrate" the intrinsic toxicity of lunar dust by comparison to a nontoxic dust (TiO2) and a highly toxic dust (quartz) using intratrachael instillation of the dusts in mice. A battery of indices of toxicity is assessed at various time points after the instillations. Cultures of selected cells are exposed to test dusts to assess the adverse effects on the cells. Finally, chemical systems are used to assess the nature of the reactivity of various dusts and to determine the persistence of reactivity under various environmental conditions that are relevant to a space habitat. Similar systems are used to assess the dissolution of the dust. From these studies we will be able to set a defensible inhalation exposure standard for aged dust and predict whether we need a separate standard for reactive dust. Presently-available data suggest that aged lunar highland dust is slightly toxic, that it can adversely affect cultured cells, and that the surface reactivity induced by grinding the dust persists for a few hours after activation.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
James, John T.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lam, Chiu-wing
(Wyle Life Sciences, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Wallace, William T.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Conference on Environmental Systems of Materials in Oxygen-Enriched Atmospheres
Location: Savannah, GA
Country: United States
Start Date: July 13, 2009
End Date: July 16, 2009
Sponsors: Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.
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