Odors in Space Environments - Sources and Control Strategies 2007-01-3269
Management of human feces and wastes is a major challenge in space vehicles due to the potential biohazards and malodorous compounds emanating during collection and storage of feces and wastes. To facilitate safe, yet realistic human waste management research, we have previously developed human fecal simulants for research activities.
The odoriferous compounds in feces and wastes reduce the quality of life for astronauts, can reduce performance, and can even cause health problems. The major odoriferous compounds of concern belong to four groups of chemicals, volatile fatty acids, volatile sulfurous compounds, nitrogenous compounds and phenols.
This paper attempts to review the problem of odor detection and odor control with advanced technology. There has been considerable progress in odor detection and control in the animal industry and in the dental profession. The progress especially in the dental field may be a basis for developing requirements for odor control, measurement of the key odoriferous compounds, development of sensors for monitoring odoriferous compounds and investigating new odor control technology for future space habitats. Some of these monitoring devices, such as the hydrogen sulfide monitors are becoming available as commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology. These could enable improvements to monitoring and control of the system. Another aspect of improving quality of life can focus on positive enhancement of the space systems for improved performance, physical well-being and enhancement of the emotional state of the astronauts during a space mission. Such systems are already being tested on Earth in the form of “aromatherapy” and the principles can be extended to space habitats.