Task Study of Lunar Dust and Lunar Simulant Activation, Monitoring, Solution and Cellular Toxicity Properties (Completed)
Last Published:  07/30/21 01:05:34 PM (Central)
Short Title: Lunar Dust - Cell
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):
  1. Determine various methods of activating lunar simulant
  2. Monitor the activation level of mineral dusts and lunar simulant
  3. Determine dissolution characteristics of lunar simulant in solution
  4. Determine cellular toxicity of lunar dust and simulant

All aims have been achieved.  Activation of a simulant of lunar dust was accomplished by grinding and levels of activation were determined by an assay that measured the amount of hydroxyl radicals produced when ground dust was immersed in an aqueous solution.  Comparisons between ground samples of lunar dust, lunar simulant, and quartz, which is highly toxic, reveal that ground lunar dust is capable of producing over three times the amount of hydroxyl radicals as lunar simulant and an order of magnitude more than ground quartz. Concentrations of various molecules released by dissolution were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Cellular toxicity of simulant was assessed by examining the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in cultured cells exposed to the dusts. The results of the efforts that comprised this task provide evidence that lunar dust possesses properties that are associated with toxic mineral dusts.

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