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Technical Paper

Pulmonary Toxicity of Lunar Highland Dust

Lunar dust exposures occurred during the Apollo missions while the crew was in the lunar module on the moon's surface and especially when micro-gravity 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 current vision for lunar exploration includes stays of 6 months on the lunar surface hence the health effects of periodic exposure to lunar dust in the habitat need to be assessed. NASA is performing this assessment with a series of in vitro and in vivo tests with authentic lunar dust. Our approach is to “calibrate” the intrinsic toxicity of lunar dust by comparison to a relatively low toxicity dust (TiO2) and a highly toxic dust (quartz) using intrapharyngeal instillation of the dusts to mice. A battery of indices of toxicity is assessed at various time points after the instillations.
Technical Paper

Chemical Characterization of U.S. Lab Condensate

Approximately 50% of the water consumed by International Space Station crewmembers is water recovered from cabin humidity condensate. Condensing heat exchangers in the Russian Service Module (SM) and the United States On-Orbit Segment (USOS) are used to control cabin humidity levels. In the SM, humidity condensate flows directly from the heat exchanger to a water recovery system. In the USOS, a metal bellows tank located in the US Laboratory Module (LAB) collects and stores condensate, which is periodically off-loaded in about 20-liter batches to Contingency Water Containers (CWCs). The CWCs can then be transferred to the SM and connected to a Condensate Feed Unit that pumps the condensate from the CWCs into the water recovery system for processing. Samples of the condensate in the tank are collected during the off-loads and returned to Earth for analyses.
Technical Paper

Mechanical Properties and Durability Study of Aerogel-Base Thermal Insulation for Advanced Space Suit

Fiber-reinforced Aerogel composite insulations provide superior thermal insulation protection in both the low-earth orbit (LEO) and near-earth neighborhood planetary environments. The flexible nature and thermal properties of these materials make them the best insulation candidates for advanced space suit application. This paper reviews the properties of various Aerogel composite materials developed for NASA by Aspen Systems, Inc. Previous studies showed that the Aerogel materials retained acceptable thermal performance after some amount of mechanical cycling. The goal of the current work is to reach a complete understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials in the domain of space suit application. Hence, a good knowledge of the durability of the aerogel composites is needed. This paper presents the extensive testing program needed to determine the life of these insulations for advanced space suit application.
Technical Paper

Chemical Analysis and Water Recovery Testing of Shuttle-Mir Humidity Condensate

Humidity condensate collected and processed in-flight is an important component of a space station drinking water supply. Water recovery systems in general are designed to handle finite concentrations of specific chemical components. Previous analyses of condensate derived from spacecraft and ground sources showed considerable variation in composition. Consequently, an investigation was conducted to collect condensate on the Shuttle while the vehicle was docked to Mir, and return the condensate to Earth for testing. This scenario emulates an early ISS configuration during a Shuttle docking, because the atmospheres intermix during docking and the condensate composition should reflect that. During the STS-89 and STS-91 flights, a total volume of 50 liters of condensate was collected and returned. Inorganic and organic chemical analyses were performed on aliquots of the fluid.