The Utilization of Urine Processing for the Advancement of Life Support Technologies
The success of long-duration missions will depend on resource recovery and the self- sustainability of life support technologies. Current technologies used on the International Space Station (ISS) utilize chemical and mechanical processes, such as filtration, to recover potable water from urine produced by crewmembers. Such technologies have significantly reduced the need for water resupply through closed-loop resource recovery and recycling. Harvesting the important components of urine requires selectivity, whether through the use of membranes or other physical barriers, or by chemical or biological processes. Given the chemical composition of urine, the downstream benefits of urine processing for resource recovery will be critical for many aspects of life support, such as food production and the synthesis of biofuels. This paper discusses the beneficial components of urine and their potential applications, and the challenges associated with using urine for nutrient recycling for space application.
Elysse N. Grossi, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
John A. Hogan, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Michael Flynn, NASA Ames Research Center, USA