ognizant Communication Corporation

International Journal for Human Support Research
(Formerly Life Support and Biosphere Science)


Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 149-162
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Experimental Studies of Load-Displacement Behavior of Water Processing Granular Activated Alumina Beds for Space Life Support Systems

Ramesh B. Malla and Ganesh Anandakumar

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Long-term human missions to space need advanced life support systems to generate and recycle critical elements like oxygen and water. The water processing assembly aboard the Space Station makes use of granular packed beds to recycle water. This article presents results from an experimental study of dry granular activated alumina (AA) packed beds that have application for water processing. Laboratory tests performed included particle size distribution, direct shear, axial loading/unloading, and friction mobilization tests. It is found that internal friction of the media increases with increasing initial compaction. The interface friction coefficient between AA and the housing cylinder wall shows modest change with increase in compaction. The load-displacement behavior of the full-scale bed is nonlinear for low compaction but becomes linear for high compacted media. The axial displacement at the loading end of the bed increases with decrease in initial compaction. The amount of fines generated in the media increases with decrease in initial compaction. Friction mobilizing force between AA and the housing cylinder is found to be significant and increases with initial compaction and bed length of the media.

Key words: Granular activated alumina; Shear behavior; Friction coefficient; Friction mobilizing force; Fines generation

Address correspondence to Ramesh B. Malla, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, 261 Glenbrook Road, Unit-2037, Storrs, CT 06269-2037, USA. Tel: (860) 486-3683; Fax: (860) 486-2298; E-mail: mallar@engr.uconn.edu

Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 164-172
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Inedible Biomass Biodegradation for Advanced Life Support Systems: II. Compost Quality and Resource Recovery

Javier C. Ramirez-Perez, John A. Hogan, and Peter F. Strom

Department of Environmental Science, School of Environmental & Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Aerobic composting is a candidate solid waste processing and resource recovery technology for advanced life support (ALS) for human habitation on Mars or the Moon. A mixture simulating such mission wastes was composted and samples collected over 84 days. Phytotoxicity of aqueous extracts of ALS compost (ALSC) was measured by relative seed germination (SG), root elongation (RE), and germination index with five plant species. Overall, the measured relative sensitivity was Arabidopsis >= lettuce > tomato > wheat > cucumber. NH3 concentration was the most important factor affecting phytotoxicity. Use as a tomato and wheat growth medium was assessed with ALSC, freshly leached compost (FLC), and compost leached after drying (DLC), tested alone or combined with Promix or Martian regolith simulant at 1:1 ratios. Plants were tallest, diameters were largest, and shoots and roots heaviest in FLC/Promix > ALSC/regolith > DLC > ALSC/Promix > ALSC. ALSC alone inhibited germination and growth, likely due to high NH4+-N concentrations and pH (high free NH3). Promix with 0.17-5.4 mg NH4+-N/g added was adjusted to pH 7, 8.5, and 10.5. High free ammonia from high total ammonia concentration (>1.1 g/kg) at high pH (>=8.5) inhibited emergence and growth. Thus, ALSC needs posttreatment of ammonia and pH before use as a growth medium.

Key words: Advanced life support (ALS); Compost; Phytotoxicity; Plant nutrient recovery; Solid waste management; Seed germination index

Address correspondence to Peter F. Strom, Department of Environmental Science, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8551, USA. Tel: (732) 932-9800, ext. 6216; Fax: (732) 932-8644; E-mail: strom@aesop.rutgers.edu

Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 173-183
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

A Simulation Approach to Minimize Water Supply, Water Storage Capacity, and Water Treatment Capacity Requirements in an Advanced Life Support System for Mars Missions

Chithui Ang and Yuehwern Yih

School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

In this study, the relationship among crewmembers and crops water consumption and production, water treatment capacity, water storage tank capacity, and water supply required from Earth is explored. Two mission durations and two scenarios are studied to investigate the impact of mission duration and crops addition, respectively, on water subsystem cost. Results show that increase in water treatment capacity can effectively reduce water storage tank equivalent system mass (ESM) to a certain extent. Mission duration affects water storage tank ESM unless water removal technology and in situ resource utilization (ISRU) are added into the crewmembers-only and crewmembers-and-crops scenarios, respectively, in addition to the water treatment process at optimal capacity. Although the results are system specific, it demonstrates that trade study analysis can be performed to evaluate the trade off of water treatment technologies, water removal technologies, and ISRU technologies against water storage tank and supply using ESM.

Key words: Advanced life support (ALS) system; Water storage tank capacity; Water treatment capacity; Mars mission; Equivalent system mass (ESM)

Address correspondence to Yuehwern Yih, School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, 315 N. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. Tel: (765) 494-0826; Fax: (765) 494-1299; E-mail: yih@purdue.edu

Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 185-201
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Evaluation of the Apogee Wheat Variety for its Utilization in Baked Products and Noodles

Patrick V. Veillard1 and Jozef L. Kokini2

1Department of Food Science and the Center for Advanced Food Technology, Rutgers University, Cook College, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
2Food Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

NASA recently developed Apogee, a new wheat variety, adapted to growth in confined environments for future manned space travels. The objective of this study was to assess Apogee's potential for the manufacturing of baked products and noodles. Proximate analysis, physicochemical tests, dough rheological tests, and protein characterization studies were performed. Final products were characterized by texture analysis and hedonic sensory evaluation tests. Apogee flour had high pentosan, protein, and damaged starch content, factors responsible for its high water absorption. In spite of its high protein content, Apogee had medium dough strength, as shown by its medium farinograph dough development time and stability. This was attributed to its relatively low protein quality, demonstrated by protein fractionation studies. Apogee flour produced thick, small, and hard cookies and low-volume cakes. However, sensory evaluation of Apogee cookies showed a fair overall liking. While Apogee breads were acceptable in terms of loaf volume, noodles were too brown and had a high internal firmness. These results showed that Apogee characteristics should be modified according to each end use. The use of specific additives and split-milling process were suggested for this purpose.

Key words: Apogee wheat; Baked products; Noodles; Utilization

Address correspondence to Jozef L. Kokini, Associate Dean of Research and Bingham Professor of Food Engineering, University of Illinois, 211 Mumford Hall, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. E-mail: kokini@acesnet.uiuc.edu

Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 203-208
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Ammonium-Nitrogen Loading Rates in a Microporous Hollow Fiber Membrane Bioreactor

Noel Ruiz, Audra Morse, and W. Andrew Jackson

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Hollow fiber membrane bioreactors (HFMBRs) are a potentially promising technology for nitrification of waste streams in microgravity and reduced gravity. The goal of this research was to determine the relationship between loading rates and nitrification efficiency of a commercial microporous HFMBR treating a simulated early planetary waste stream. Results indicate that HFMBRs have relatively high volumetric reaction rates, which presents a low mass and energy efficient biological system. A maximum of 75% of ammonium conversion was achieved by the HFMBR. However, attributes that contribute to the reactors high volumetric reaction rates (high specific surface area) also were responsible for channeling and heterogeneous biofilm formation, reducing the potential efficiency of the reactor. In addition, even at extremely low pressure differentials, bubble formation occurred.

Key words: Hollow fiber membrane reactor; Ammonia loading rates; Nitrification

Address correspondence to Audra Morse, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, Box 41023, Lubbock, TX 79409-1023, USA. Tel: (806) 742-2801, ext. 284; Fax: (806) 742-3449; E-mail: audra.n.morse@ttu.edu

Habitation, Vol. 11, pp. 209-219
1542-9660/08 $60.00 + .00
Copyright © 2008 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Communication: Workshop on Technology Approahes for Current and Future Base Camp Sustainability

Submitted from the Habitation Institute and prepared by:
Dr. Christopher S. Brown, NC State University
Dr. Harry Janes, Rutgers University
Ms. Cindy Martin-Brennan, Habitation Institute

On September 12-14, 2007, the Habitation Institute sponsored a "Workshop on Technology Approaches for Current and Future Base Camp Sustainability," which was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. The purpose of this workshop was to identify basic research questions defining a newly emerging "Habitation Sciences" program managed by the Army Research Office. In attendance were over 30 scientists, engineers, and program managers from the US Army, NASA, Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Administration, academia, and industry in relevant fields who have a common end-goal, which is to provide a safe haven for humans in hostile environments.

The objective of the workshop was to bring together experts in the areas of water, solid waste, power/energy, structures, system modeling and design to identify areas of research. Based on the criteria that: 1) the research must be basic, 2) no major investment is being made by other agencies in regard to the basic research, and 3) the research must be scientifically relevant to a "Habitation Science Program" of the Army Research Office, the following six research thrust areas emerged:
1. Rapid start-up of biological processes
2. Membrane processes for water purification
3. Advanced barriers and structures
4. Real-time informatics and analysis
5. Energy recovery and conversion
6. Resource reuse and transformation