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Technical Paper

Urine Processing for Water Recovery via Freeze Concentration

Resource recovery, including that of urine water extraction, is one of the most crucial aspects of long-term life support in interplanetary space travel. This paper will consequently examine an innovative approach to processing raw, undiluted urine based on low-temperature freezing. This strategy is uniquely different from NASA's current emphasis on either ‘integrated’ (co-treatment of mixed urine, grey, and condensate waters) or ‘high-temperature’ (i.e., VCD [vapor compression distillation] or VPCAR [vapor phase catalytic ammonia removal]) processing strategies, whereby this liquid freeze-thaw (LiFT) procedure would avoid both chemical and microbial cross-contamination concerns while at the same time securing highly desirable reductions in likely ESM levels.
Technical Paper

Design of a High-Bandwidth, Low-Cost Hydrostatic Absorption Dynamometer with Electronic Load Control

A low-cost hydrostatic absorption dynamometer has been developed for small to medium sized engines. The dynamometer was designed and built by students to support student projects and educational activities. The availability of such a dynamometer permits engine break-in cycles, performance testing, and laboratory instruction in the areas of engines, fuels, sensors, and data acquisition. The dynamometer, capable of loading engines up to 60kW at 155Nm and 3600rpm, incorporates a two-section gear pump and an electronically operated proportional pressure control valve to develop and control the load. A bypass valve permits the use of only one pump section, allowing increased fidelity of load control at lower torque levels. Torque is measured directly on the drive shaft with a strain gage. Torque and speed signals are transmitted by an inductively-powered collar mounted to the dynamometer drive shaft. Pressure transducers at the pump inlet and pump outlet allow secondary load measurement.
Technical Paper

Water and Energy Transport for Crops under Different Lighting Conditions

When high-intensity discharge (HID) electric lamps are used for plant growth, system inefficiencies occur due to an inability to effectively target light to all photosynthetic tissues of a growing crop stand, especially when it is closed with respect to light penetration. To maintain acceptable crop productivity, light levels typically are increased thus increasing heat loads on the plants. Evapotranspiration (ET) or transparent thermal barrier systems are subsequently required to maintain thermal balance, and power-intensive condensers are used to recover the evaporated water for reuse in closed systems. By accurately targeting light to plant tissues, electric lamps can be operated at lower power settings and produce less heat. With lower power and heat loads, less energy is used for plant growth, and possibly less water is evapotranspired. By combining these effects, a considerable energy savings is possible.
Technical Paper

Solids Thermophilic Aerobic Reactor for Solid Waste Management in Advanced Life Support Systems

Solids thermophilic aerobic reactor (STAR) processing of biodegradable solid waste residuals uses high temperature conditions to reduce waste volume, inactivate pathogens, and render products that may enter the recycle system by providing plant substrate, fish food, and mushroom growth medium. The STAR process recovers and enables the reuse of nutrients, water, and carbon. During the time of this study, STAR was operated at a 3% solids loading rate, with an 11-day retention time at a temperature range of 50-55°C. This document presents the following details: a the evolution to date of the STAR reactor b review of reactor operation and analytical methods c a synopsis of the performance results and related discussion, and d a synopsis of future goals relative to this project's associated research roadmap.
Technical Paper

Wastestream Characterization for a Packed Bed Biofilter Intended for Simultaneous Treatment of Graywater and Air in an Advanced Life Support System

An important function of life support systems developed for a long duration human mission to Mars is the ability to recycle water and air. The Bio-Regenerative Environmental Air Treatment for Health (BREATHe) is part of a multicomponent life support system and will simultaneously treat wastewater and air. The BREATHe system will consist of packed bed biofilm reactors. Model waste streams will be used for experiments conducted during the design phase of the BREATHe system. This paper summarizes expected characteristics of water and air waste steams that would be generated by a crew of six during a human mission to Mars. In addition to waste air and water generation rates, the chemical composition of each waste stream is defined. Specifically, chemical constituents expected to be present in hygiene wastewater, dishwater, laundry water, atmospheric condensate, and cabin air are presented.