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T3CD The Toxicity of Celestial Dusts 

T3CD The Toxicity of Celestial Dusts 

Progetti internazionali
Programma di ricerca
Ente finanziatore
€ 20000
09/09/2019 - 09/09/2022
Francesco Turci

Aree / Gruppi di ricerca

Partecipanti al progetto

Descrizione del progetto

The Topical Team on the Toxicity of Celestial Dusts (T3CD) is composed by scientists, carrying out research in a wide-ranging spectrum of disciplines. Holding a broad range of complementary skills and expertises, team members are able to address the most challenging questions in dust effects on human health.
The team works in close contact with the ESA Human Space Exploration

1.1      Vision

In the next decade, Space agencies, including NASA and ESA, are planning to (re)start crewed missions toward the Moon and on to Mars. Future missions will allow scientists to learn more about the resources and hazards for humans beyond Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) and will advance broader scientific questions related to the history of the Solar System and the emergence and co-evolution of life on Earth. Ultimately, crewed missions will provide information about the ability of humans to work and live in extreme environments.

Crew members can be directly exposed to celestial dust in several ways, including: i) extravehicular activities (EVAs), they may introduce into the habitat dust from space suits and boots; ii) cleaning suits between EVAs and changing of the Environmental Control Life Support System filters; iii) returning to microgravity, the dust that is introduced into the return vehicle will “float” thus increasing the opportunity for ocular and respiratory injury.

In the context of a bio-sustainable planetary exploration, the determination of the potential toxicity of celestial soils and dusts is a key element enabling human survival. However, the formation, composition and physical properties of celestial dusts (CD), including exposure routes, activation and passivation processes, are only partially investigated. Many key issues related to the interaction of celestial dusts with biological tissue and cells are largely unexplored, including the effect of microgravity on dust pulmonary cut-offs, the health effect of surface molecular species, the activation/deactivation kinetics of UV and solar wind exposed particles.

This Topical Team will report about the toxicity of celestial dusts, especially with exposure resulting from dust inhalation. Human inhalation will be our primary focus because this is the most likely pathway for exposure that has the potential for significant toxicity concerns. Nonetheless, skin sensitization following abrasion, ocular and mouth mucosa damage, and general interaction of the dust with all kinds of Earthly life required for space survival (plants first, but also livestock) will be our concern.

The team will work in close contact with the ESA Human Space Exploration working group.

1.2      Mission

The Topical Team on the Toxicity of Celestial Dust (T3CD) provides ESA with scientific and technical advances in addressing the gaps in the scientific knowledge about features of the celestial dust and its toxicity. By filling such gaps, we provide science-based possibilities for mitigating the exposure of astronauts to potentially noxious dusts during planetary explorations and allow ESA to establish safe exposure limits. Habitats and vehicles shall be designed so that exposures of crews to celestial dusts would be limited to safe levels.

1.3      Objectives

T3CD has three main objectives:

O.1) identify the major knowledge gaps that prevent an accurate assessment of celestial dust toxicity;
O.2) propose standardized methodologies to estimate the inhalation health risk on celestial soil/dust using ground-based, low-gravity, and in situ measurements;
O.3) participate in national and EU-funded competitive research projects


Risultati e pubblicazioni

  1. Meetings:
    • 21-22 November 2019 Kick-off meeting, Department of Chemistry, Torino
Ultimo aggiornamento: 25/07/2022 12:50
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