In situ Manufacturing derived from Bioregenerative Life Support Systems
In situ resources from planetary sources can be used in conjunction with a bioregenerative life support system to produce excess biomass which along with miscellaneous waste streams can be used as a feedstock for manufacturing numerous items necessary to support and expand a planetary habitation. Materials that can be fabricated include: structural materials like beams, joists, wall studs, structural cables, and wall and floor panels, doors; furniture items such as tables, chairs, cabinets, beds, and shelves; geotextiles, fabrics for clothing, cushions and bedding; numerous specialty items like filters, plastics, thermal and sound insulation; and useful biochemicals like lubricants, detergents, alcohol, protective coatings, and adhesives. These feedstock materials can also be used in several manufacturing technologies such as compression forming, extrusion, and 3D additive manufacturing. One example is straw fiberboard, which is formed by fiberization and compression, with or without binding agents, and is used commercially as a renewable construction resource. More exotic materials that are produced through synthetic biology techniques, using genetically modified plants to produce materials that could not otherwise be produced in a remote setting, can be processed through biorefining (extraction, separation and purification) techniques before being processed by standard manufacturing techniques. Required processes for using biomass feedstocks can be evolved from information derived from similar processes now or previously used commercially, or that have been developed in the laboratory. A biomanufacturing system could provide a tool to reduce costs of maintaining and expanding a planetary outpost by eliminating the need to transport from Earth either finished items or the raw materials needed to fabricate those items on site. It also provides the means and flexibility to respond to sudden, unanticipated needs including repair or replacement of damaged items, and supports NASA�s philosophy for long duration planetary bases to �make what you need where you need it.�.
John Wetzel, Sierra Space, US
Sam Moffatt, Sierra Space, US
ICES308: Advanced Technologies for In-Situ Resource Utilization
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.