Bio-Regenerative Food Production and Solid Waste System for Long-Term Space Mission to Mars 2005-01-2927
This paper describes further development of a bio-regenerative food and waste management system concept for long-term space travel. The concept proposes a system by which sufficient food and fiber could be taken along for a six-person crew on a 3-year round trip mission to Mars by lifting off with only a 6 month supply of pre-packaged shelf-stable food and fiber products on board (sufficient for one-way transit to the planetary base). During residence time on the planetary base, daily food production would include repackaging and reprocessing a daily excess of prepared shelf-stable ready-to-eat meals with recycled retort pouches that were accumulated during transit for this purpose.
Technical feasibility of such a system was addressed beginning with selection of a specific realistic scenario that could be supported with available data from recent NASA-funded research in space agriculture, advanced food technology, and solid waste management. The paper reports on a preliminary attempt to track mass balances of daily food intake requirements from crew consumption and metabolism, recovery of organic wastes, and bioconversion of those wastes and residues to compost through anaerobic digestion for return to plant growth media.