Questions tagged [life-support]

Questions about life support systems in use on spacecraft, space stations, extraterrestrial colonies, or simulated extraterrestrial environments, about their function, design, effectiveness, historical references, or any other considerations regarding their use in space exploration.

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Why is it so hard to build a closed-loop ecological life support system?

Why is it so hard to build a closed life support system for humans? There are "ecosystems in a jar" even with fish that are stable for many years. It is clear to me that humans have much ...
Saturn V's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
115 views

Mass Breakdown of Apollo CSM by Subsystems? (also Cost Breakdown)

I am looking for a mass breakdown of the Apollo Command and Service Module by subsystems, like this Lunar Module's chart from the NASA publication After LM. I am particularly interested in how much of ...
mini earth's user avatar
-7 votes
1 answer
171 views

Wouldn't it be easier to send human heads instead entire human bodies for space exploration? [closed]

A major part of what makes human space exploration extremely difficult is the infrastructure required to support the human body outside earth. It requires resources just to launch into space due to ...
ATL_DEV's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
86 views

What is the relationship between the power supply system and the thermal control system?

According to Wikipedia, the solar panels of the ISS produce an average of about 120 kW of electrical energy, which is then used by the station's systems. Can it be converted into something other than ...
Saturn V's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
264 views

What will be the pressure inside the Orion spacecraft?

On wikipedia, I believe that it will be the same as at sea level (101 kPa), or reduced (55 - 70 kPa). But what pressure will be normal in the cabin? What will the pressure be there during the flight?
Saturn V's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does air circulate between modules on the ISS?

I know that the air on the ISS has to be constantly circulated. But how is this ensured? I see some ventilation pipes in the Russian segment, but what does it look like in the American one? I found ...
Saturn V's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
798 views

Life support system weight estimate

I would need to estimate the weight of the life support system, specifically the weight of the oxygen subsystem. Are there weights for previous spacecraft available somewhere? Or is some other ...
Saturn V's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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Icy Hot Astronauts [duplicate]

According to the specifications of the Apollo 13 lunar module where the astronauts were during their emergency return to Earth, the walls were about the thickness of a coke can so how were they able ...
H8 Machn's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
683 views

How much algae would you need to fully support a person?

Recently, I saw a video on Cody'sLab, where an “algae panel” was constructed. This is set up like a solar panel and uses algae to convert light and air into food and oxygen. This got me wondering how ...
Topcode's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is there any reason that we have not sent a small mammal to Mars? [duplicate]

It seems like much could be learned in this way but it seems like only orbital missions have had non-human life onboard. I could actually see NASA decide not to send a mouse and certainly not a dog/...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 337
4 votes
2 answers
488 views

How can you get nitrogen and carbon enough to make air (after adding oxygen and reacting the carbon with oxygen to form carbon dioxide) on the moon?

I'm working on a moon base for a project and I need to make air. I know that you can get oxygen and hydrogen by electrolysing water which is present in abundance on the moon. I need to mix nitrogen, ...
Robo's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
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How does SpaceX plan to supply or recycle respiratory gasses?

If Starship carries 100 passengers to Mars, they will consume about 6 metric tons of oxygen and produce about 10 tons of CO2 on each leg of the trip. Much more if they exercise. CO2 could be converted ...
Woody's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
290 views

How did the Carbon Dioxide gauges work on Apollo?

The book Lost Moon by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger had this interesting description in Chapter 10 (page 254 in my copy) regarding the CO2 gauges (emphasis added): Carbon dioxide concentrations in ...
Tristan's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
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Where exactly are the Apollo space suit sublimators venting steam into space? is there a photo of an astronaut in space that shows the opening?

This excellent answer to How have space suits dissipated the heat removed from astronauts? shows a diagram including the sublimator unit in the red square where the phase transition of water from ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Why were Bion 6, Bion 7 and Bion 9 launched at the times they were? Was it related to thermal management for their living cargo?

An answer to Have any living organisms been intentionally launched into polar orbits? says (in its entirety currently): Yes. The highest inclination orbit with animals I could find are Bion 6, Bion 7 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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13 votes
5 answers
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Cyanobacteria as Life Support?

I'm aware that cyanobacteria are responsible for the Great Oxidation Event and are very effective at turning CO2 into oxygen so it stands to reason that with the proper nutrients for the bacteria, you ...
James Ervin's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Astronauts make a lot of CH₄ and some H₂ as well; do space capsules and space stations have systems to remove these?

While not as much as ruminants, humans emit methane, CH4, natural gas, etc. regularly. While it is less known, we can also emit hydrogen as H2. What are the sources of molecular hydrogen in human ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
5 votes
3 answers
324 views

Most energy efficient food production for sustainable human life support

Say you want to build a base at a place where conventional food deliveries from Earth would be very expensive. What will be the most energy-efficient food production process that could feed humans, ...
Kozuch's user avatar
  • 1,453
4 votes
1 answer
289 views

How is CO₂ scrubbed from the air in a space vessel?

Within a space vessel such as the ISS for example, how do the astronauts regulate the level of CO₂ they are breathing and how is the air scrubbed exactly?
aitía's user avatar
  • 277
6 votes
1 answer
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How are the Archival Samples of water on the ISS handled?

This answer includes this schematic showing the overview of the water processing system on the ISS, found on page 341 (page 375 of the pdf) of The International Space Station - Operating an Outpost in ...
Speedphoenix's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
475 views

Is the silica gel used in the ISS recycled?

I read this answer which raises the question of what happens to the silica gel used in the ISS once it has absorbed humidity. The ISS relies on silica gel to absorb humidity from the atmosphere to ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 5,048
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

What typically gets sent to the ISS?

I'm working on a project that aims to understand what is needed to live in space. I understand the basic concepts and vital items needed, but I'd love to see a direct example of what is already being ...
Jee's user avatar
  • 291
3 votes
1 answer
227 views

How fast were Apollo atmosphere composition reverted back to sea-level atmosphere?

Apollo spacecraft used a pure oxygen atmosphere while in space and an atmosphere with 60% oxygen at launch time. This chapter describes how the atmosphere composition varied from 60% to 100% oxygen in ...
Manu H's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
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Have military rations ever been supplied to crews in space?

Most space food has been specially designed preserved food to meet concerns specific to space flight. Has any space program supplied MREs or other rations from their military for astronauts?
ikrase's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
469 views

What effects did the different air pressure and air composition in certain spacecraft have on astronauts?

The Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, and in space the Apollo spacecraft, didn't pressurize their cockpits to 1 atm with Earth-like atmospheric composition; instead, they used pure oxygen at much lower ...
user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
6k views

Was the Apollo 13 CO2 problem a matter of capacity, or of rate?

During Apollo 13, an explosion in the service module caused the command module to lose electrical power. This required using the environmental control system of the lunar module to remove carbon ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
247 views

How much nitrogen did Skylab and the Space Shuttle carry for atmosphere makeup?

This comment below Where there any spacecraft with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system for nitrogen replenishment? mentions: Both Skylab and shuttle had N2 tanks for atmosphere makeup. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
230 views

Were there any spacecraft with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system for nitrogen replenishment?

When watching the Vintage Space video Apollo’s Flammable Oxygen Atmosphere Explained, I started to think: was there ever any spacecraft proposed with nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, but without a system ...
Ijon's user avatar
  • 429
8 votes
0 answers
157 views

How long could the ISS function if removed from Earth orbit?

Suppose the ISS were instantaneously moved to the opposite side of the Sun from Earth - how long would it continue to function? Are there any systems aboard that depend on passing behind the planet ...
Skyler's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
5k views

What did the Apollo missions do with old LiOH canisters & the water they produced?

We all love the Apollo 13 story, but the famous lithium hydroxide CO2 scrubber of that mission has made it hard for me to find information about its regular use. What happened to the old canisters ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
229 views

What is the most massive object in the ISS whose position was altered by the circulating air?

In Leo S's comment to the question, Do astronauts develop the ability to regularly place an object at rest inside the ISS after extended periods in microgravity?, he said "forces due to circulation of ...
Bob516's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
262 views

How exactly is the balance of minerals handled on ISS with the use of reclaimed (demineralised) water for human consumption?

This question and answers to it contain wealth of information regarding recycling of ISS resources, and water is one of them. Water, recycled from water waste, atmosphere moisture and urine, is ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
98 views

ISS Life Support Consumable use rate

At what rate does the International Space Station, (ISS), consume life support resources and other consumables? I'm attempting to calculate long term life supoprt requirements for a system based on ...
user2702772's user avatar
  • 1,084
6 votes
0 answers
132 views

Why do spacesuits have air in the body? [duplicate]

Wouldn’t it be easier to make a space suit that only maintains air around the head, and just has a “tight” insulated and shielded suit around the body? It seems to me the reasons we need a space ...
oeste's user avatar
  • 285
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Reentry without pressure suits in Apollo: was there a formal risk assesment?

In Apollo 11 Flight Journal the following is stated: The crew will make re-entry without suits or helmets on. Although this was a controversial decision on the first Apollo flight, Apollo 7, when the ...
Sergiy Lenzion's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
186 views

Algae Bioreactor for O2 and CO2 (and food?) - Any data on required size and power requirements?

I believe that the requirements for a single persons $\require{mhchem}\ce{O2}$/$\ce{CO2}$ balance run somewhere in the region of $8m^2$ of algae, which would seem to be possible in a single $\approx ...
nirurin's user avatar
  • 459
8 votes
2 answers
502 views

Why doesn't the ISS have more oxygen generators?

According to this article, the O2 reclamation on the ISS is capable of producing about 2kg of O2 per day. However, crews need slightly more than this. What is preventing NASA/Roscosmos/anyone else ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
9k views

Are there types of animals that can't make the trip to space? (physiologically)

I thought about what kind of animals could make it to space, and I thought about how vertebrates can apparently withstand the G forces need to travel to the ISS, but I hadn't really thought about ...
Krupip's user avatar
  • 603
4 votes
1 answer
388 views

How many people could the ISS support?

How many people can fit on the ISS? At what person would life support be overwhelmed?
Muze's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
251 views

Do current plans for people going to Mars by SpaceX depend only on consumables loaded from Earth?

Do current plans for people going to Mars by SpaceX depend only on consumables loaded from Earth or do they also include obtaining some materials from Mars fairly soon after arrival? Does the plan ...
Pablo's user avatar
  • 885
3 votes
0 answers
264 views

Would a space station be able to watch a world wide cataclysm and how long would the crew be able to survive for? [closed]

I know there is other questions with similar concerns about there being any protocols in pace if the crew of space station were to witness a world wide cataclysm and the survivability of the crew if ...
Scott.Bell's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

How did humans grow plants on the Moon despite the harsh conditions?

The Chang'e 4 lander contains seeds to grow plants on the Moon. The Moon has non-sustainable life conditions. Among those are the lack of water, atmosphere, the varying extreme temperatures, the low ...
Olivier Grégoire's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
219 views

Pressurized Organic Oxygen Pods

Human waste could be used in a hydroponics facility to grow algae in space or Mars in pressurized tanks, and the photosynthesis can be used to convert CO2 to breathable oxygen. A carbon dioxide ...
Muze's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

How long would a stranded Apollo crew have survived on the Moon?

If the Apollo ascent vehicle hadn't been able to take off from the Moon, how long was the crew expected to have survived? And what would the likely natural cause of death be? I've heard that partial ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
719 views

Does ISS get a surplus of oxygen or water?

[overhauling the question to get rid of misconceptions, which were irrelevant anyway] In the balance of input/output of the system ISS is, I spotted something that looks like build-up of stockpile of ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
73 votes
4 answers
30k views

Could we breathe an atmosphere that is not nitrogen based?

As I understand it, the important part of Earth's atmosphere that we breathe is the oxygen. However, Earth's air is only about 21% oxygen with the rest made up of about 78% nitrogen and 1% other gases,...
Rozgonyi's user avatar
  • 831
4 votes
0 answers
166 views

What was the coverage of the Yuegong-1 (Lunar Palace-1) experiment in terms of life-support?

The Yuegong-1 (Lunar Palace-1) experiment in China aimed at evaluating bio-regenerative life-support systems, and crew psychology. Some reports explain: Liu Hong said the test marks the longest ...
Eric Platon's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
555 views

How does the sabatier system reduce water shipments to the ISS?

So I thought I'd answered my own question (How close is the ISS to a closed system?), but I just realized there's a missing piece. This is the chemical equation for how hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon ...
Nick S's user avatar
  • 1,054
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

How close is the ISS to a closed system, in terms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen?

I found this diagram of the ISS ECLSS material flow and noticed the $CO_2$ being vented off the station. source Now, I understand this is outdated since they added a Sabatier reaction system to ...
Nick S's user avatar
  • 1,054
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did Apollo 13 need to scrub the air in the LM?

One of the dramatic moments of Apollo 13 (in real life, not just the movie) was when they had to build scrubbers for the LM ("fit the square peg in a round hole"). Why did they have to do that? The ...
shuttle's user avatar
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