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Evaluating the feasibility of biological waste processing for long term space missionsRecycling waste products during orbital (e.g., International Space Station) and planetary missions (e.g., lunar base, Mars transit mission, Martian base) will reduce storage and resupply costs. Wastes streams on the space station will include human hygiene water, urine, faeces, and trash. Longer term missions will contain human waste and inedible plant material from plant growth systems used for atmospheric regeneration, food production, and water recycling. The feasibility of biological and physical-chemical waste recycling is being investigated as part of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Advanced Life Support (ALS) Program. In-vessel composting has lower manpower requirements, lower water and volume requirements, and greater potential for sanitization of human waste compared to alternative bioreactor designs such as continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR). Residual solids from the process (i.e. compost) could be used a biological air filter, a plant nutrient source, and a carbon sink. Potential in-vessel composting designs for both near- and long-term space missions are presented and discussed with respect to the unique aspects of space-based systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Garland, J. L.
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach FL United States)
Alazraki, M. P.
Atkinson, C. F.
Finger, B. W.
Sager, J. C.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Acta horticulturae
Volume: 469
ISSN: 0567-7572
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Life Support Systems

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