Water System Architectures for Moon and Mars Bases



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


45th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Water systems for human bases on the moon and Mars will recycle multiple sources of wastewater. Systems for both the moon and Mars will also store water to support and backup the recycling system. Most water system requirements, such as number of crew, quantity and quality of water supply, presence of gravity, and surface mission duration of 6 or 18 months, will be similar for the moon and Mars. If the water system fails, a crew on the moon can quickly receive spare parts and supplies or return to Earth, but a crew on Mars cannot. A recycling system on the moon can have a reasonable reliability goal, such as only one unrecoverable failure every five years, if there is enough stored water to allow time for attempted repairs and for the crew to return if repair fails. The water system that has been developed and successfully operated on the International Space Station (ISS) could be used on a moon base. To achieve the same high level of crew safety on Mars without an escape option, either the recycling system must have much higher reliability or enough water must be stored to allow the crew to survive the full duration of the Mars surface mission. A three loop water system architecture that separately recycles condensate, wash water, and urine and flush can improve reliability and reduce cost for a Mars base.


Bellevue, Washington
Harry W. Jones, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Edward W. Hodgson, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International (HSSSI), USA
Mark H. Kliss, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
The 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Bellevue, Washington, USA on 12 July 2015 through 16 July 2015.