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  • A Bottom-Up Approach to Minimize Human Risks In A Manned Lunar Exploration Scenario.

    Paper ID



    • Francesco Saverio Ambesi-Impiombato
    • Elisabetta Albi
    • Francesco Curcio
    • Giuseppina Perrella
    • Antonella Meli
    • Francesco Vitrani
    • Anna Maria Zambito


    University of Udine; University of Perugia;






    The survival itself of Human species will depend on eventually manned Space Programs, such as the present Moon Base Project and on those that will inevitably follow. In a Moon exploration and colonization scenario, to assess short- and long-term health risks on a statistically significant base, it is imperative to conduct preliminary yet extensive, long-duration experiments, prior to expose for long periods of time large numbers of complex organisms, and even more large numbers of Human individuals, to the unknown risks of the Space/Moon environment. It is not early to start with those experiments. It is essential to take advantage of any precursor flight opportunity, which may take place prior to the manned phase of the Lunar Exploration scenario. Because of the serious technological constraints which may apply throughout such precursor flight phases (unmanned flights, difficult temperature control, lack of analytical instruments, no retrieval of experiment materials, etc.), we propose here a bottom-up strategy, which will be instrumental to acquire and accumulate the necessary data to avoid or to minimize, by means of possible countermeasures, the risks to human subjects. We thus propose the use of mammalian, normal and differentiated {\it in vitro} cultured cell strain, the FRTL-5, a rat thyroid cell line produced by one of the Authors several years ago and widely used worldwide as an international standard. This approach is also substantiated by previous Space experimentation we recently performed in various ESA/NASA Space missions with the support of ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) through the MoMa project. FRTL-5 cells have been used, with preliminary but very promising results which are still in progress, and which will be briefly described. These cells may be used either a) in a dormant, non-proliferative state capable of surviving for months without medium changes, in a Hormone/Growth-Factors-deprived culture medium, or b) frozen, if and when such condition could be continuously assured during the Earth to the Moon flight and, with the use of solar batteries and Peltier elements, on the Moon surface: it will thus be possible to leave these test organisms on the Moon surface even for years. It is anticipated that the approach here described will make full use of the most advanced technologies available, such as Biosensors, Robotized culture bioreactors, Telemetry, Remote sensing/control, etc. It is also anticipated that the potential impact of the proposed approach will significantly contribute to the foreseen significant progresses in both Science and Technology.