Broadcast 1626 (Special Edition)

30 Sep 2011 Dr. John Hogan
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Guest: Dr. John Hogan. Topics: Human Life Support for long duration spaceflight, space environmental needs & solutions. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. John Hogan who is with the Bioengineering Branch at NASA Ames to the show to discuss human life support issues, challenges, and where we are today in terms of being able to do long duration human spaceflight (HSF) and establish a human presence on the Moon or Mars. Dr. Hogan started our discussion with an overview of the early space missions including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, then onto ISS and the Space Shuttle. He talked about the life support issues from those missions up to where we are today, the evolution of systems, lessons learned, and the capabilities of systems then as compared to now and what will be needed in the future. We talked about the difficulty, challenges, and the fact that the longer period of time for the mission, the greater and more complex the systems will be to support the missions. Dr. Hogan talked about the need for maintaining cabin pressure, water, food, air temperature, radiation protection, waste removal and microgravity issues, all in the context of the systems provided by each of the programs mentioned above. As you will hear, the ISS is the test bed for life support. We talked in detail about water recycling and the current level of efficiency as compared to what will be needed on a Mars mission. We talked about CO2 removal from the systems and the methods for removing it, plus the waste which today includes methane. In the future the methane might even be used for fuel or other purposes. As for trash and solid waste, you do not want to miss how it is handled and the hardware that has been made to process the trash with usable byproducts. Near the end of the first segment, I asked our guest about the areas needing work before we could do a Mars HSF trip. Don't miss what he said about solid waste treatment, water and air issues. In the second segment, a listener asked about the Dragon being outfitted for HSF requirements and the stability of consumables and other systems over a long time in space. We talked about reducing the mass of the hardware systems as a key component of developing new systems and components for longer missions. Food production was discussed along with closed agricultural systems. Another listener asked about microbial growth & life in the vehicle and the steps taken to prevent such growth. In our final segment, we talked about the state of the art environmental test building at Ames, Sustainability Base, and the benefits going back and forth from space to Earth by developing the systems we talked about today. Energy use was also discussed and we talked about underground food production for the Moon as well as Mars, plus the terrestrial advancement known as Vertical Farming. Toward the end, we talked about the shelf life in space for food, other consumables, and pharmaceuticals. If you have comments or questions, please post them on the blog URL above.

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