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Application of NASA's Advanced Life Support Technologies in Polar RegionsThe problems of obtaining adequate pure drinking water and disposing of liquid and solid waste in the U.S Arctic, a region where virtually all water is frozen solid for much of the year, has led to unsanitary solutions. Sanitation and a safe water supply are particularly problems in rural villages. These villages are without running water and use plastic buckets for toilets. The outbreak of diseases is believed to be partially attributable to exposure to human waste and lack of sanitation. Villages with the most frequent outbreaks of disease are those in which running water is difficult to obtain. Waste is emptied into open lagoons, rivers, or onto the sea coast. It does not degrade rapidly and in addition to affecting human health, can be harmful to the fragile ecology of the Arctic and the indigenous wildlife and fish populations. Current practices for waste management and sanitation pose serious human hazards as well as threaten the environment. NASA's unique knowledge of water/wastewater treatment systems for extreme environments, identified in the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment report entitled An Alaskan Challenge: Native Villagt Sanitation, may offer practical solutions addressing the issues of safe drinking water and effective sanitation practices in rural villages. NASA's advanced life support technologies are being combined with Arctic science and engineering knowledge to address the unique needs of the remote communities of Alaska through the Advanced Life Systems for Extreme Environments (ALSEE) project. ALSEE is a collaborative effort involving the NASA, the State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, the North Slope Borough of Alaska, Ilisagvik College in Barrow and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The focus is a major issue in the State of Alaska and other areas of the Circumpolar North; the health and welfare of its people, their lives and the subsistence lifestyle in remote communities, economic opportunity, and care for the environment. As advanced technologies are transferred to the commercial sector the ALSEE project Offers the potential for development of new industries in Alaska to supply the products to support remote communities of the globe.
Document ID
20070003532
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Bubenheim, David L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Alaska Water and Wastewater Management Association Research Development Conference on Rural Sanitation(Fairbanks, AK)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.