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A Lunar Microbial Survival Model for Predicting the Forward Contamination of the Moon

Schuerger, Andrew C. and Moores, John E. and Smith, David J. and Reitz, Günther (2019) A Lunar Microbial Survival Model for Predicting the Forward Contamination of the Moon. Astrobiology, 19 (6), pp. 730-756. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1952 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2018.1952


The surface conditions on the Moon are extremely harsh with high doses of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation (26.8 W · m⁻² UVC/UVB), wide temperature extremes (−171°C to 140°C), low pressure (10-10 Pa), and high levels of ionizing radiation. External spacecraft surfaces on the Moon are generally >100°C during daylight hours and can reach as high as 140°C at local noon. A Lunar Microbial Survival (LMS) model was developed that estimated (1) the total viable bioburden of all spacecraft landed on the Moon as ∼4.57 × 10¹⁰ microbial cells/ spores at contact, (2) the inactivation kinetics of Bacillus subtilis spores to vacuum as approaching -2 logs per 2107 days, (3) the inactivation of spores on external surfaces due to concomitant low-pressure and hightemperature conditions as -6 logs per 8 h for local noon conditions, and (4) the ionizing radiation by solar wind particles as approaching -3 logs per lunation on external surfaces only. When the biocidal factors of solar UV, vacuum, high-temperature, and ionizing radiation were combined into an integrated LMS model, a -231 log reduction in viable bioburden was predicted for external spacecraft surfaces per lunation at the equator. Results indicate that external surfaces of landed or crashed spacecraft are unlikely to harbor viable spores after only one lunation, that shallow internal surfaces will be sterilized due to the interactive effects of vacuum and thermal cycling from solar irradiation, and that deep internal surfaces would be affected only by vacuum with a degradation rate of -0.02 logs per lunation.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/126719/
Document Type:Article
Title:A Lunar Microbial Survival Model for Predicting the Forward Contamination of the Moon
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Schuerger, Andrew C.Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.UNSPECIFIED
Moores, John E.Department for Research in Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Canada.UNSPECIFIED
Smith, David J.Space Biosciences Division, NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.UNSPECIFIED
Reitz, GüntherRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; guenther.reitz (at) dlr.de and Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Praha, Czech Republichttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5045-0761
Date:27 February 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1089/ast.2018.1952
Page Range:pp. 730-756
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Astrobiology, Lunar spacecraft, Moon, Lunar surface, Planetary protection
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:15 Mar 2019 09:37
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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