Further Characterization of Aerosols Sampled on the International Space Station



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49th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Spacecraft cabin air quality is of fundamental importance to crew health, with concerns encompassing both gaseous contaminants and airborne particles. Quantification of spacecraft indoor aerosols will increase our understanding of crew exposure and cabin cleanliness. Aerosols on the International Space Station (ISS) have been sampled and brought back to Earth for analysis to characterize the airborne particulate matter in the cabin. Microscopic analyses have been performed to determine morphology and particle size information, and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) provides information on the chemical elements present in the particles. With the use of IntelliSEM software for computer-controlled scanning electron microscopy (CCSEM), this data provides particle size distribution information and statistics on particle materials. Many of the particles collected were made up of multiple elements and had uncommon morphologies compared to typical indoor aerosols on Earth. These characteristics are thought to be from unique formation mechanisms in the microgravity environment. Several notable particle types are examined further in this work. Bromine-containing particles and cadmium-containing particles are discussed, as they constitute a health hazard to crew members. Humans in indoor living and working spaces are typically the single largest particle emission source, and this was observed in the sampled aerosols in ISS as well.


Marit Meyer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
ICES510: Planetary and Spacecraft Dust Properties and Mitigation Technologies


Aerosol, Particle, Cadmium, Bromine, ISS