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5. Toxic Effects of Martian Dust on Humans

2005: IVA-2
2010: 2C
Priority: Medium

2005 Version

2. Investigation. Determine the possible toxic effects of Martian dust on humans.
a. For at least one site, assay for chemicals with known toxic effect on humans. Of particular importance are oxidizing species (e.g., CrVI). (May require Mars Sample Return (MSR)).
b. Fully characterize soluble ion distributions, reactions that occur upon humidification and released volatiles from a surface sample and sample of regolith from a depth as large as might be affected by human surface operations.
c. Analyze the shapes of Martian dust grains sufficient to assess their possible impact on human soft tissue (especially eyes and lungs).
d. Determine if Martian regolith elicits a toxic response in an animal species that are surrogates for humans.

MEPAG (2008), Mars Scientific Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2008, J.R. Johnson, ed., 37 p. white paper posted September, 2008 by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) at

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