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Technical Paper

Solid Waste Processing - An Essential Technology for the Early Phases of Mars Exploration and Colonization

1997-07-01
972272
Terraforming of Mars is the long-term goal of colonization of Mars. However, this process is likely to be a very slow process and conservative estimates involving a synergetic, technocentric approach suggest that it may take around 10,000 years before the planet can be parallel to that of Earth and where humans can live in open systems (Fogg, 1995). Hence, for the foreseeable future, any missions will require habitation within small confined habitats with high biomass to atmospheric mass ratios, thereby requiring that all wastes be recycled. Processing of the wastes will ensure predictability and reliability of the ecosystem and reduce resupply logistics. Solid wastes, though smaller in volume and mass than the liquid wastes, contain more than 90% of the essential elements required by humans and plants.
Technical Paper

An Evaluation of Potential Mars Transit Vehicle Water Treatment Systems

1998-07-13
981538
This paper compares four potential water treatment systems in the context of their applicability to a Mars transit vehicle mission. The systems selected for evaluation are the International Space Station system, a JSC bioreactor-based system, the vapor phase catalytic ammonia removal system, and the direct osmotic concentration system. All systems are evaluated on the basis of their applicability for use in the context of the Mars Reference Mission. Each system is evaluated on the basis of mass equivalency. The results of this analysis indicate that there is effectively no difference between the International Space Station system and the JSC bioreactor configurations. However, the vapor phase catalytic ammonia removal and the direct osmotic concentration systems offer a significantly lower mass equivalency (approximately 1/7 the ISS or bioreactor systems).
Technical Paper

Cold Weather Wind Turbines - A Joint NASA/NSF/DOE Effort in Technology Transfer and Commercialization

1997-07-01
972510
Renewable energy sources and their integration with other power sources to support remote communities is of interest for Mars applications as well as Earth communities. The NSF, NASA, and DOE have been jointly supporting development of a 100 kW cold weather wind turbine through grants and SBIR's independently managed by each agency but coordinated by NASA. The NSF grant is specific to address issues associated with the South Pole Application and a 3 kW direct drive unit is currently being tested there in support of the development of the 100 kW unit. An NREL contract is focused on development of the 100 kW direct drive generator. The NASA SBIR is focused on development of the 100 kW direct drive wind turbine.
Technical Paper

Current and Planned Modifications to the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology in Response to the MSFC ECLS Long Duration Test Results

2008-06-29
2008-01-2141
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology has undergone long duration testing at MSFC. The results of this testing revealed several areas in which the VPCAR Technology could be improved and those improvements are summarized here. These improvements include the replacement of several parts with units that are more durable, redesign of several pieces which proved to have mechanical weaknesses, and incorporation of some new designs in order to prevent other potential problems.
Technical Paper

Advanced Development of the Direct Osmotic Concentration System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2145
Direct osmotic concentration (DOC) is an integrated membrane treatment process designed for the reclamation of spacecraft wastewater. The system includes forward osmosis (FO), membrane evaporation, reverse osmosis (RO) and an aqueous phase catalytic oxidation (APCO) post-treatment unit. This document describes progress in the third year of a four year project to advance hardware maturity of this technology to a level appropriate for human rated testing. The current status of construction and testing of the final deliverable is covered and preliminary calculations of equivalent system mass are funished.
Technical Paper

Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer in a TEC-Driven Lyophilizer

2006-07-17
2006-01-2185
Dewatering of wet waste during space exploration missions is important for crew safety as it stabilizes the waste. It may also be used to recover water and serve as a preconditioning step for waste compaction. A thermoelectric cooler (TEC)- driven lyophilizer is under development at NASA Ames Research Center for this purpose. It has three major components: (i) an evaporator section where water vapor sublimes from the frozen waste, (ii) a condenser section where this water vapor deposits as ice, and (iii) a TEC section which serves as a heat pump to transfer heat from the condenser to the evaporator. This paper analyses the heat and mass transfer processes in the lyophilizer in an effort to understand the ice formation behavior in the condenser. The analysis is supported by experimental observations of ice formation patterns in two different condenser units.
Technical Paper

Fluid Dynamics Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity

2006-07-17
2006-01-2131
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system is being developed to recycle water for future NASA Exploration Missions. Testing was recently conducted on NASA's C-9B Reduced Gravity Aircraft to determine the microgravity performance of a key component of the VPCAR water recovery system. Six flights were conducted to evaluate the fluid dynamics of the Wiped-Film Rotating Disk (WFRD) distillation component of the VPCAR system in microgravity, focusing on the water delivery method. The experiments utilized a simplified system to study the process of forming a thin film on a disk similar to that in the evaporator section of VPCAR. Fluid issues are present with the current configuration, and the initial alternative configurations were only partial successful in microgravity operation. The underlying causes of these issues are understood, and new alternatives are being designed to rectify the problems.
Technical Paper

Astrobiology Hydrothermal Vent Technology Development

2000-07-10
2000-01-2342
The study of life in extreme environments provides an important basis from which we can undertake the search for extraterrestrial life. This paper provides a description of a program focused on developing technologies which are necessary to evaluate the potential for the existence of a deep sub-seafloor biosphere.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Technology at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility

2007-07-09
2007-01-3036
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) technology has been previously discussed as a viable option for the Exploration Water Recovery System. This technology integrates a phase change process with catalytic oxidation in the vapor phase to produce potable water from exploration mission wastewaters. A developmental prototype VPCAR was designed, built and tested under funding provided by a National Research Announcement (NRA) project. The core technology, a Wiped Film Rotating Device (WFRD) was provided by Water Reuse Technologies under the NRA, whereas Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International performed the hardware integration and acceptance test of the system. Personnel at the Ames Research Center performed initial systems test of the VPCAR using ersatz solutions. To assess the viability of this hardware for Exploration Life Support (ELS) applications, the hardware has been modified and tested at the MSFC ECLS Test Facility.
Technical Paper

Identification of Extraterrestrial Microbiology Using Fluorescent Analysis Techniques

1999-07-12
1999-01-2207
One of the key questions addressed in the field of Astrobiology is based upon the assumption that life exists, or at one time existed, in locations throughout the universe. However, this assumption is just that, an assumption. No definitive proof exists. On Earth, life has been found to exist in many diverse environments. We believe that this tendency towards diversity supports the assumption that life could exist wherever environmental conditions are right to support it. There are several locations within our Solar System which might support environments which are conducive to life. However, to conclusively establish the existence of life in such locations we must be capable of sensing generic life forms. This paper provides a summary of several innovative techniques based on the use of fluorescent analysis for the direct detection of extraterrestrial life forms.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery III, System Design

2005-07-11
2005-01-3084
Mixed liquid/solid wastes, including feces, water processor effluents, and food waste, can be lyophilized (freeze-dried) to recover the water they contain and stabilize the solids that remain. Our previous research has demonstrated the potential benefits of using thermoelectric heat pumps to build a lyophilizer for processing waste in microgravity. These results were used to build a working prototype suitable for ground-based human testing. This paper describes the prototype design and presents results of functional and performance tests.
Technical Paper

Development of Water Treatment Systems for Use on NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM)

2006-07-17
2006-01-2012
NASA is currently developing two new human rated launch systems. They are the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM). Both of these spacecraft will require new life support systems to support the crew. These life support systems can also be designed to reduce the mass required to keep humans alive in space. Water accounts for about 80% of the mass required to keep a person alive. As a result recycling water offers a high return on investment. Recycling water can also increase mission safety by providing an emergency supply of drinking water. This paper evaluates the potential benefits of two wastewater treatment technologies that have been designed to reduce the mass of the CEV and LSAM missions. For a 3 day CEV mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this approach could reduce the mass required to provide drinking water by 65% when compared to stored water. For an 18 day Lunar mission a mass savings of 70% is possible.
Technical Paper

Component-based Control System for the Rotating-Disk Analytical System (R-DAS)

2003-07-07
2003-01-2529
The Rotating Disk Analytical System (R-DAS) is an in-situ, bio-analytical technology, which utilizes a micro-fluidic disk with similar form factor as an audio compact disc to enhance and augment microgravity-based cellular and molecular biology research. The current micro-fluidic assay performs live cell/dead cell analysis using fluorescent microscopy. Image acquisition and analysis are performed for each of the selected microscope slide windows. All images are stored for later download and possible further post analysis. The flight version of the R-DAS will occupy a double mid-deck shuttle locker or one quarter of an ISS rack. The control system for the R-DAS consists of a set of interactive software components. These components interact with one another to control disk rotation, vertical and horizontal stage motion, sample incubation, image acquisition and analysis, and human interface.
Technical Paper

Development Status of the VPCAR Water Processor Assembly

2003-07-07
2003-01-2626
The purification of waste water is a critical element of any long-duration space mission. The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system offers the promise of a technology requiring low quantities of expendable material that is suitable for exploration missions. NASA has funded an effort to produce an engineering development unit specifically targeted for integration into the NASA Johnson Space Center's Integrated Human Exploration Mission Simulation Facility (INTEGRITY) formally known in part as the Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (Bio-Plex) and the Advanced Water Recovery System Development Facility. The system includes a Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator redesigned with micro-gravity operation enhancements, which evaporates wastewater and produces water vapor with only volatile components as contaminants. Volatile contaminants, including organics and ammonia, are oxidized in a catalytic reactor while they are in the vapor phase.
Technical Paper

The Development of the Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk Evaporator for the Reclamation of Water at Microgravity

2002-07-15
2002-01-2397
This project is a Phase III SBIR contract between NASA and Water Reuse Technology (WRT). It covers the redesign, modification, and construction of the Wiped-Film Rotating-Disk (WFRD) evaporator for use in microgravity and its integration into a Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system. VPCAR is a water processor technology for long duration space exploration applications. The system is designed as an engineering development unit specifically aimed at being integrated into NASA Johnson Space Center's Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Test Complex (BIO-Plex). The WFRD evaporator and the compressor are being designed and built by WRT. The balance of the VPCAR system and the integrated package are being designed and built by Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc. (HSSSI) under a subcontract with WRT. This paper provides a description of the VPCAR technology and the advances that are being incorporated into the unit.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery

2001-07-09
2001-01-2348
An energy-efficient lyophilization technique is being developed to recover water from highly contaminated spacecraft waste streams. In the lyophilization process, water in an aqueous waste is frozen and then sublimed, separating the waste into a dried solid material and liquid water. This technology is ideally suited to applications such as the Mars Reference Mission, where water recovery rates approaching 100% are desirable but production of CO2 is not. Candidate wastes include feces, concentrated brines from water processors, and other solid wastes that contain water. To operate in microgravity, and to minimize power consumption, thermoelectric heat pumps can be used in place of traditional fluid cycle heat pumps. A mathematical model of a thermoelectric lyophilizer is described and used to generate energy use and processing rate estimates.
Technical Paper

Lyophilization for Water Recovery II, Model Validation

2004-07-19
2004-01-2377
This paper presents results of research on a solid waste dryer, based of the process of lyophilization, which recovers water and stabilizes solid waste. A lyophilizer has been developed and tested that uses thermoelectric heat pumps (TECs) to recycle heat during drying. The properties of TECs facilitate direct measurement of heat flow rates, and heat flow data are used to evaluate a heat and mass transfer model of the thermoelectric lyophilizer. Data are consistent with the theoretical model in most respects. Practical problems such as insulation and vacuum maintenance are minor in this system. However, the model’s assumption of a uniformly retreating ice layer during drying is valid only for the first 30% of water removed. Beyond this point, a shrinking core or lens model is more appropriate. Heat transfer to the shrinking core surrounded by dried material is slow.
Technical Paper

The Development of the Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) Engineering Development Unit

2004-07-19
2004-01-2495
This paper presents the results of a program to develop the next generation Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system. VPCAR is a spacecraft water recycling system designed by NASA and constructed by Water Reuse Technology Inc. The technology has been identified by NASA to be the next generation water recycling system [1]. It is designed specifically for a Mars transit vehicle mission. This paper provides a description of the process and an evaluation of the performance of the new system. The equivalent system mass (ESM) is calculated and compared to the existing state-of-the art. A description of the contracting mechanism used to construct the new system is also provided.
Journal Article

Lightweight Contingency Water Recovery System Concept Development

2008-06-29
2008-01-2143
The Lightweight Contingency Water Recovery System (LWC-WRS) harvests water from various sources in or around the Orion spacecraft in order to provide contingency water at a substantial mass savings when compared to stored emergency water supplies. The system uses activated carbon treatment (for urine) followed by forward osmosis (FO). The LWC-WRS recovers water from a variety of contaminated sources by directly processing it into a fortified (electrolyte and caloric) drink. Primary target water sources are urine, seawater, and other on board vehicle waters (often referred to as technical waters). The product drink provides hydration, electrolytes, and caloric requirements for crew consumption. The system hardware consists of a urine collection device containing an activated carbon matrix (Stage 1) and an FO membrane treatment element (or bag) which contains an internally mounted cellulose triacetate membrane (Stage 2).
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