1992-07-01

An Assessment of Waste Processing/Resource Recovery Technologies for Lunar/Mars Life Applications 921271

NASA's future manned missions to explore the Solar system are by nature of long duration, mandating extensive regeneration of life support consumables from wastes generated in space-based habitats. Long duration exploration missions would otherwise be prohibitive due to the number and frequency of energy-intensive resupply missions from Earth. Resource recovery is therefore a critical component of the controlled ecological life support system (CELSS). In order to assess resource recovery technologies for CELSS applications, the Crew and Thermal Systems Division at NASA-Johnson Space Center convened a three-day workshop to assess potential resource recovery technologies for application in a space-based CELSS. Ninety experts from government, industry and academia attended the workshop. This paper describes the methodology of assessing and ranking of these technologies. Recommendations and issues are identified. Evaluations focused on the processes for handling and treatment of inedible plant biomass, human waste, and human generated trash. Technologies were assessed on the basis of safety, reliability, technology readiness and performance characteristics.

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