Task Cellular Studies to Support Pulmonary Toxicology Evaluation of Lunar Dust, Dermal Studies of Lunar Dust and Ocular Studies of Lunar Dust (Completed)
Last Published:  07/30/21 01:05:34 PM (Central)
Short Title: Lunar Dust D/O
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):
Cellular Toxicity
  1. Measurements of lunar dust-stimulated generation of reactive oxygen species in alveolar macrophages will be made.  The aim of these studies will be to provide a reliable estimate of the “rank order” of toxicity of lunar dust, as compared to terrestrial reference materials (control substances), to provide data that is complementary to the inhalation toxicology experiments.

The responsiveness of rat lung macrophages to intratracheal instillation of lunar dust was assessed by measuring the production of reactive oxygen species with a zymosan-stimulated macrophage chemiluminescence assay.  The findings demonstrate that the response to lunar dust lunar dust is intermediate, between TiO2, a nuisance dust, and quartz, which is highly toxic.  These findings are consistent with those obtained from measures of other biomarkers of toxicity.

Dermal Toxicity
  1. Assess severity of dermal abrasions that are likely to result from acute and chronic contact of the skin with lunar dust particles.
  2. Assess degree to which lunar dust can provoke irritant and sensitization components of inflammation.

Abrasive effects of lunar soil on skin, were assessed using a bio-impedance method and have shown that lunar dust is highly abrasive. 

Ocular Toxicity
  1. The specific aim is to assess the severity of ocular damage that could occur from acute and chronic contact of the corneum with lunar dust particles.

Finding, which indicate that lunar dust was only minimally irritating to the corneum, were published in BMC Ophthalmology 2012, 12:26    doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-26

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