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Technical Paper

Steady-State System Mass Balance for the BIO-Plex

1998-07-13
981747
A steady-state system mass balance calculation was performed to investigate design issues regarding the storage and/or processing of solid waste. In the initial stages of BIO-Plex, only a certain percentage of the food requirement will be satisfied through crop growth. Since some food will be supplied to the system, an equivalent amount of waste will accumulate somewhere in the system. It is a system design choice as to where the mass should accumulate in the system. Here we consider two approaches. One is to let solid waste accumulate in order to reduce the amount of material processing that is needed. The second is to process all of the solid waste to reduce solid waste storage and then either resupply oxygen or add physical/chemical (P/C) processors to recover oxygen from the excess carbon dioxide and water that is produced by the solid waste processor.
Technical Paper

Plant Growth and Plant Environmental Monitoring Equipment on the Mir Space Station: Experience and Data from the Greenhouse II Experiment

1996-07-01
961364
A three country effort (U.S., Russia, and Bulgaria) has upgraded the plant growth facilities on the Mir Space Station and used the new facility to grow wheat for 90 days. The Svet plant-growth facility was reactivated and used in an initial experiment as part of the Shuttle/Mir program, August to November, 1995. The Svet system, used first to grow cabbage and radish during a 1990 experiment, was augmented by the addition of a U.S. developed Gas Exchange Measurement System (GEMS) that measures a range of environmental parameters plus transpiration, photosynthesis, and possibly respiration. Environmental parameters include cabin, chamber, root-zones, and leaf temperatures. Light levels, relative humidity, oxygen, and atmospheric pressure are also measured. High-accuracy water-vapor and carbon-dioxide concentrations and differences are measured using specially developed IRGA systems.
Technical Paper

Martian Atmospheric Utilization by Temperature-Swing Adsorption

1996-07-01
961597
Technologies that can be used to extract oxygen and other useful products from the Martian atmosphere for exploration missions will require compression of the low-pressure Martian gas. One technique that appears ideally suited for this application is temperature-swing adsorption, which can produce purified and compressed CO2 in a virtually solid-state process whose energy requirements can be met mainly through the diurnal temperature cycle. This paper focuses on material selection and sensitivity of this adsorption process to variations in Mars surface conditions. Experimental results indicate that, of the zeolite and carbon materials studied, a NaX zeolite is a superior adsorbent in terms of the amount of pressurized gas it can produce per unit mass of sorbent.
Technical Paper

A Pilot Scale System for Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Recovery of Water

2009-07-12
2009-01-2365
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work was to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. TDA and NASA Ames Research Center have developed a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system to convert organic waste to CO2 and H2O.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Bioregenerative and Physical/Chemical Life Support Systems

2006-07-17
2006-01-2082
Popular depictions of space exploration as well as government life support research programs have long assumed that future planetary bases would rely on small scale, closed ecological systems with crop plants producing food, water, and oxygen and with bioreactors recycling waste. In actuality, even the most advanced anticipated human life support systems will use physical/ chemical systems to recycle water and oxygen and will depend on food from Earth. This paper compares bioregenerative and physical/chemical life support systems using Equivalent System Mass (ESM), which gauges the relative cost of hardware based on its mass, volume, power, and cooling requirements. Bioregenerative systems are more feasible for longer missions, since they avoid the cost of continually supplying food.
Technical Paper

Atmosphere Composition Control of Spaceflight Plant Growth Growth Chambers

2000-07-10
2000-01-2232
Spaceflight plant growth chambers require an atmosphere control system to maintain adequate levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as to limit trace gas components, for optimum or reproducible scientific performance. Recent atmosphere control anomalies of a spaceflight plant chamber, resulting in unstable CO2 control, have been analyzed. An activated carbon filter, designed to absorb trace gas contaminants, has proven detrimental to the atmosphere control system due to its large buffer capacity for CO2. The latest plant chamber redesign addresses the control anomalies and introduces a new approach to atmosphere control (low leakage rate chamber, regenerative control of CO2, O2, and ethylene).
Technical Paper

Development of a Pilot Scale Apparatus for Control of Solid Waste Using Low Temperature Oxidation

2007-07-09
2007-01-3135
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The important goals outlined in this document include extending human presence in the solar system culminating in the exploration of Mars. Unprocessed waste poses a biological hazard to crew health and morale. The waste processing methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this project is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. In the Phase I project, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature oxidation process using ozone. In the current Phase II project, TDA and NASA Ames Research Center are developing a pilot scale low temperature ozone oxidation system.
Technical Paper

Mars Transit Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3160
This paper considers the design of a life support system for transit to Mars and return to Earth. Because of the extremely high cost of launching mass to Mars, the Mars transit life support system must minimize the amount of oxygen, water, and food transported. The three basic ways to provide life support are to directly supply all oxygen and water, or to recycle them using physicochemical equipment, or to produce them incidentally while growing food using crop plants. Comparing the costs of these three approaches shows that physicochemical recycling of oxygen and water is least costly for a Mars transit mission. The long mission duration also requires that the Mars transit life support system have high reliability and maintainability. Mars transit life support cannot make use of planetary resources or gravity. It should be tested in space on the International Space Station (ISS).
Technical Paper

Breakeven Mission Durations for Physicochemical Recycling to Replace Direct Supply Life Support

2007-07-09
2007-01-3221
The least expensive life support for brief human missions is direct supply of all water and oxygen from Earth without any recycling. The currently most advanced human life support system was designed for the International Space Station (ISS) and will use physicochemical systems to recycle water and oxygen. This paper compares physicochemical to direct supply air and water life support systems using Equivalent Mass (EM). EM breakeven dates and EM ratios show that physicochemical systems are more cost effective for longer mission durations.
Technical Paper

Investigating the Partitioning of Inorganic Elements Consumed by Humans between the Various Fractions of Human Wastes - An Alternative Approach

2003-07-07
2003-01-2371
The elemental composition of food consumed by astronauts is well defined. The major elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur are taken up in large amounts and these are often associated with the organic fraction (carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc) of human tissue. On the other hand, a number of the elements are located in the extracellular fluids and can be accounted for in the liquid and solid waste fraction of humans. These elements fall into three major categories - cationic macroelements (e.g. Ca, K, Na, Mg and Si), anionic macroelements (e.g. P, S and Cl and17 essential microelements, (e.g. Fe, Mn, Cr, Co, Cu, Zn, Se and Sr). When provided in the recommended concentrations to an adult healthy human, these elements should not normally accumulate in humans and will eventually be excreted in the different human wastes.
Technical Paper

Oxygen Penalty for Waste Oxidation in an Advanced Life Support System - A Systems Approach

2002-07-15
2002-01-2396
Oxidation is one of a number of technologies that are being considered for waste management and resource recovery from waste materials generated on board space missions. Oxidation processes are a very effective and efficient means of clean and complete conversion of waste materials to sterile products. However, because oxidation uses oxygen there is an “oxygen penalty” associated either with resupply of oxygen or with recycling oxygen from some other source. This paper is a systems approach to the issue of oxygen penalty in life support systems and presents findings on the oxygen penalty associated with an integrated oxidation-Sabatier-Oxygen Generation System (OGS) for waste management in an Advanced Life Support System. The findings reveal that such an integrated system can be operated to form a variety of useful products without a significant oxygen penalty.
Technical Paper

A Hybrid Pyrolysis / Oxidation System for Solid Waste Resource Recovery

2004-07-19
2004-01-2380
Pyrolysis is a very versatile waste processing technology which can be tailored to produce a variety of solid, liquid, and/or gaseous products. The main disadvantages of pyrolysis processing are: (1) the product stream is more complex than for many of the alternative treatments; (2) the product gases cannot be vented directly into the cabin without further treatment because of the high CO concentrations. One possible solution is to combine a pyrolysis step with catalytic oxidation (combustion) of the effluent gases. This integration takes advantage of the best features of each process. The advantages of pyrolysis are: insensitivity to feedstock composition, no oxygen consumption, and batch operation. The main advantage of oxidation is the simplicity and consistency of the product stream. In addition, this hybrid process has the potential to result in a significant reduction in Equivalent System Mass (estimated at 10-40%) and system complexity.
Journal Article

Development and Design of a Low Temperature Solid Waste Oxidation and Water Recovery System

2008-06-29
2008-01-2052
In February 2004 NASA released “The Vision for Space Exploration.” The goals outlined in this document include extending the human presence in the solar system, culminating in the exploration of Mars. A key requirement for this effort is to identify a safe and effective method to process waste. Methods currently under consideration include incineration, microbial oxidation, pyrolysis, drying, and compaction. Although each has advantages, no single method has yet been developed that is safe, recovers valuable resources including oxygen and water, and has low energy and space requirements. Thus, the objective of this work is to develop a low temperature oxidation process to convert waste cleanly and rapidly to carbon dioxide and water. Previously, TDA Research, Inc. demonstrated the potential of a low temperature dry oxidation process using ozone in a small laboratory reactor.
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