Earth, Space & Life Sciences

Man in the laboratory

Lunar Dust Biotoxicity Research

In support of the establishment of a permissible exposure limit for astronauts to airborne Lunar dust, CSS developed and led research efforts that investigated and characterized lunar dust biotoxicity and skin abrasivity at NASA Ames Research Center. This work was completed through collaborative partnerships with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Oregon Health and Sciences University, the Lunar Airborne Dust Toxicity Assessment Group and NASA Johnson Space Center. Experiments measured pulmonary toxicity using Apollo 14 lunar dust specimens, a rat animal model, intratracheal instillation techniques, macrophage responsiveness assays, particle size analysis technologies,and dust chemical reactivity characterization techniques. To assess lunar dust abrasivity, CSS staff used Apollo 11, 16 and 17 soil samples, a pig skin animal model, abrasion techniques, and a novel skin abrasion assessment technique. This task was directed by the NASA Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer, and was managed by the Space Human Factors and Habitability element of the NASA Human Research Program.