A Mission Concept to Study Multigenerational Mammalian Reproduction in Partial GravityA team at NASA Langley Research Center conducted a study during which a conceptual space mission was designed. In this study, rodents are used as human analogs to gather biological and systems data in a relevant environment applicable to future settlements on Mars. The mission concept uniquely addresses the combined effects of long-durations (one-year or greater), autonomous and robotic operations, and biological responses to partial gravity with an emphasis on reproduction. The objectives of this study were to 1) understand challenges associated with designing an artificial gravity habitat that supports the reproduction and maturation of a large animal colony, 2) identify mission architectures and operational concepts to transport and maintain such a facility, and 3) identify fundamental science considerations for mammalian reproduction studies to inform vehicle design. A model demonstration unit was developed to visualize and test certain design concepts that resulted from these considerations. Three versions of this demonstration unit were built over the course of the study, each taking into account lessons learned from the previous version. This paper presents the updated baseline mission and spacecraft design concepts to achieve these objectives, with a specific emphasis on updates since publication in previous works. Analyses of the integrated system trades among the elements which make up the conceptual vehicle are described to address overall feasibility and identify potential integrated design opportunities. The latest iteration of the habitat robotics design and a conceptual design example for autonomous care of crew and systems are also presented. Finally, the conclusion of this conceptual design study, necessary future analyses to enable such a facility, and comments upon other applications of a similar exploration-focused research facilities are addressed.
Rodgers, Erica M. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Simon, Matthew A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Chai, Patrick R. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Neilan, James H. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Stillwagen, Fred H. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Williams, Phillip A. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Lewis, Weston (Nebraska Univ. Lincoln, NE, United States)
August 14, 2016
July 10, 2016
Meeting: International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES) 2016
Start Date: July 10, 2016
End Date: July 14, 2016
Sponsors: International Conference On Environmental Systems, Inc.