Continuously Regenerable Freeze-Out CO2 Control Technology
Carbon dioxide (CO2) removal technology development for portable life support systems (PLSS) has traditionally concentrated in the areas of solid and liquid chemical sorbents and semi-permeable membranes. Most of these systems are too heavy in gravity environments, require prohibitive amounts of consumables for operation on long term planetary missions, or are inoperable on the surface of Mars due to the presence of a CO2 atmosphere. This paper describes the effort performed to mature an innovative CO2 removal technology that meets NASA's planetary mission needs while adhering to the important guiding principles of simplicity, reliability, and operability. A breadboard cryogenic carbon dioxide scrubber for an ejector-based cryogenic PLSS was developed, designed, and tested. The scrubber freezes CO2 and other trace contaminants out of expired ventilation loop gas using cooling available from a liquid oxygen (LOX) based PLSS.