[N O R T H E R N   A R I Z O N A   U N I V E R S I T Y]

GreenSpace Engineering

Biologically Augmented Low-g Life Support System

[International Space Station]
International Space Station
Artist Concept

Courtesy NASA Human Spaceflight

One of the greatest problems for human space exploration is the lack of a non-terrestrial water source. Since it is extremely expensive to export terrestrial water to space, it is essential to recycle as close to one hundred percent as possible any water outside Earth's gravity well.

Current life support systems use energy intensive physio-chemical methods to recycle the gray-water and urine, while the more solid component of the sewage is ejected from the system. Oxygen is not recycled, and therefore must be imported regularly.

Biologically based systems use microbes and plants to degrade all components of the wastewater. In addition, useful byproducts such as oxygen, methane, and vegetable matter are produced.

Prior to the development of a waste recycle system it is first necessary to characterize and quantify the organic and inorganic components of the waste to be treated. Since the waste stream in an outer space structure can be tightly controlled, each component of the waste stream can be considered separately. The components to be considered for this project include feces, urine, CO2 gas, and those wastes generated through personal hygiene activities (i.e. bath water, toilet paper, etc.).

For more details, see:

Personnel | Links | Main
Contact the project design team
Created February 2001