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Technical Paper

The Mars Gravity Biosatellite: Thermal Design Strategies for a Rotating Partial Gravity Spacecraft

2007-07-09
2007-01-3078
A rotating spacecraft which encloses an atmospheric pressure vessel poses unique challenges for thermal control. In any given location, the artificial gravity vector is directed from the center to the periphery of the vehicle. Its local magnitude is determined by the mathematics of centripetal acceleration and is directly proportional to the radius at which the measurement is taken. Accordingly, we have a system with cylindrical symmetry, featuring microgravity at its core and increasingly strong gravity toward the periphery. The tendency for heat to move by convection toward the center of the craft is one consequence which must be addressed. In addition, fluid flow and thermal transfer is markedly different in this unique environment. Our strategy for thermal control represents a novel approach to address these constraints. We present data to theoretically and experimentally justify design decisions behind the Mars Gravity Biosatellite's proposed payload thermal control subassembly.
Technical Paper

The Mars Gravity Biosatellite: Atmospheric Reconditioning Strategies for Extended-Duration Rodent Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3224
We present results which verify the design parameters and suggest performance capabilities/limitations of the Mars Gravity Biosatellite's proposed atmospherics control subassembly. Using a combination of benchtop prototype testing and analytic techniques, we derive control requirements for ammonia. Further, we demonstrate the dehumidification performance of our proposed partial gravity condensing heat exchanger. Ammonia production is of particular concern in rodent habitats. The contaminant is released following chemical degradation of liquid waste products. The rate of production is linked to humidity levels and to the design of habitat modules in terms of bedding substrate, air flow rates, choice of structural materials, and other complex factors. Ammonia buildup can rapidly lead to rodent health concerns and can negatively impact scientific return.
Technical Paper

The Mars Gravity Biosatellite: Innovations in Murine Motion Analysis and Life Support

2005-07-11
2005-01-2788
The MIT-based Mars Gravity Biosatellite payload engineering team has been engaged in designing and prototyping sensor and control systems for deployment within the rodent housing zone of the satellite, including novel video processing and atmospheric management tools. The video module will be a fully autonomous real-time analysis system that takes raw video footage of the specimen mice as input and distills those parameters which are of primary physiological importance from a scientific research perspective. Such signals include activity level, average velocity and rearing behavior, all of which will serve as indicators of animal health and vestibular function within the artificial gravity environment. Unlike raw video, these parameters require minimal storage space and can be readily transmitted to earth over a radio link of very low bandwidth.
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