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The Rebirth of Saturn

It is called "Saturno" and is a device for the inactivation of pathogens through the use of UV-C lamps and fans, designed for indoor environments, from schools to public and private offices designed and patented by INAF and NVK Design.

The history of its design starts from the multidisciplinary scientific congress "Contagio - Humans Against Viruses" held in Milan on February 2-3, 2021, which allowed a close and fruitful encounter between scientific and technological research in the astrophysics sector and careful design environmental sustainability ( The Congress was conceived and promoted by the architect Natasha Calandrino Van Kleef * together with the Presidency of the Milan City Council. The meeting gave the opportunity to discuss the issues of contagion in a multidisciplinary and multicultural scientific context, with particular reference to the COVID19 pandemic. The discussion involved virologists, biologists and astrophysicists who carry out their research activities in the Milan area and who, at various levels, have worked to combat the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus. The main topics dealt with concerned the propagation of epidemics and their dependence on seasonality, the functioning of vaccines, technologies for the disinfection of air and surfaces in closed environments.
Some interesting results have been obtained in the context of a collaboration between researchers of the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF, and doctors and biologists of the University of Milan who are carrying out multidisciplinary research in the context of the promoted actions. by the Ministry of University and Research to combat the Covid19 pandemic. In particular, this study concerns the ability of ultraviolet radiation at different wavelengths to inhibit virus replication. As explained in the interventions by Dr. Giovanni Pareschi and Dr. Giorgia Sironi, Researchers of INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Brera, INAF and Prof. Mara Biasin of the University of Milan, the seasonality of the waves is now proven pandemics observed in these two years, it may be linked to the fact that SARS-COV2 is particularly prone (much more than other viruses and bacteria) to be inactivated by UV-A and UV-B rays at wavelengths between 290 and 400 nm, emitted by the Sun and reaching the earth's surface, with higher flows in warm seasons and in favorable latitudes.
On the other hand, UV-C radiation, also present in the solar spectrum but not able to reach the Earth because it is absorbed by the ozone layers in the atmosphere, can be produced through the use of artificial light sources (fluorescent lamps from mercury vapors and LEDs). Moreover, the great efficacy of UV-C light in disinfecting various viruses and bacteria has been well known for decades (a few orders of magnitude more than UV-B and UV-A rays) and is therefore considered a very important tool also to neutralize the spread of the SARS-Cov2 virus. An important result, obtained by the group of Milanese astrophysicists and biologists as early as May 2020 and which had a wide international diffusion due to its scientific and technological implications, was the direct quantitative measurement of the ability to inhibit the virus with UV light. C, with efficacy that has been shown to be particularly high.
Among the spin-offs of this result, as part of a collaboration created between the INAF team and the studio of Arch. Calandrino Van Kleef ( after the "Contagio" congress, "Saturno" was conceived as a disinfection system for public and private environments based on a functional design that aims at environmental sustainability and well-being of people, also taking care of the aesthetic aspect. The result of this collaboration was the conception, design and prototype construction of an ad hoc device. The name “Saturno” recalls the shape of the designed system, in a spherical configuration but with a protective ring, and also recalls the activity carried out by INAF. The system has been designed to be able to sanitize, through the exchange of clean air, in closed environments, when it is difficult or inconvenient to enter air from the outside (for example in the winter months, when opening the windows would lead to a decrease in the temperature of the environment or in highly polluted outdoor environments). “Saturno” was therefore conceived as a device to be used completely indoors, without external air exchange. The system takes the air existing in the room, subjecting it to a disinfectant treatment when it forcibly passes into the area illuminated by UV-C fluorescent lamps). The sanitized air is then continuously reintroduced into the environment itself.
The result of this important collaboration between the designer and the national research body that emerged in "Saturno" is therefore an elegant system for sanitizing the air we breathe, consisting of an earthen vessel on wheels that evokes our planet Earth as base from which a technological summit rises that refers to the planet Saturn.

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