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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extraterrestrial colonies, or simulated extraterrestrial environments, about their function, design, effectiveness, historical references, or any other considerations regarding their use in space exploration.

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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 ...
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What limits how long spacecrafts like Orion, Dragon, Starliner can support their crews' lives?

The next generation crewed spacecrafts is about to fly in the decade of 2020. Not only those in the headline here are trying to make it, but more are being developed privately and internationally. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Max g survivable suspended in water?

With something like a coil gun mass driver in mind where the more acceleration the cheaper the design in mind: If you were to suspend the astronauts in a shallow layer of water and horizontally ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Could a spacecraft be made out of wood?

Could a spacecraft use organic materials, like wood or bone or shell or other tissues, as an interface to the vacuum and radiation of space? Would wood outgas and crack up in space? I wonder if life ...
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Does it get cold in a container in space?

The image I have is that if we turn off heating in a space vehicle, the cold will be immense. However, I started figuring in terms of energy levels of particles (which is the temperature) and realized ...
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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 ...
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How many times were there thirteen people inside the ISS? Is it hard on the station?

I just saw this photo in @SF.'s answer It is ISS023-E-023513 STS-131 and Expedition 23. The full caption is below. Are there really 13 people on the ISS at one time? Is STS-131 the only shuttle ...
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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,...
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How many people could the ISS support?

How many people can fit on the ISS? At what person would life support be overwhelmed?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Air temperature and humidity inside the ISS

The International Space Station being an artificial habitat for humans; it seems reasonable to assume the air temperature, and humidity levels are maintained at well-defined levels. What are the air ...
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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 ...
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Puncturing space suit during EVA. What would happen?

What would happen, if the space suit of a spacewalking crew was punctured during the extravehicular activity (EVA)? What are the chances of this happening? Has this already happened to anyone in the ...
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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 ...
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What animals, if any, have reproduced in space?

Have any living animals successfully reproduced entirely in space? If none have, what animals have had the most complete reproductive cycles in space?
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Why is the breathing atmosphere of the ISS a standard atmosphere (at 1 atm containing nitrogen)?

The Wikipedia page for the International Space Station says that it has a fairly Earth-like, sea-level atmosphere: 21% oxygen, balance nitrogen at 101.3 kPa. Supposedly it's because a pure-oxygen ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What is the optimal selection for a small self sustaining space farm?

There are a multitude of resources about growing food in space, NASA research indicates we have been growing foods in space for years. Colonies in Space by T. A. Heppenheimer seems to have some ...
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What would have happened if the skin of an Apollo lunar module was ruptured?

The Apollo lunar module had thin skins of foil for protection / air containment. What would have happened if a hole was made in this skin by a flailing astronaut, screwdriver, asteroid, etc.? Would ...
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Does the ISS need more heating or more cooling?

While reading the recent question 'Do exercise machines on the ISS generate electric energy?', I got thinking all of the exerciser machines generate heat (heat energy). So yes all exercise machine ...
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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 ...
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Any potential downside to throwing personal life support out the door on the Moon?

I found this really interesting description of the ALSEP instrumentation placed on the moon during the Apollo 11 landing, written by Hamish Lindsay, (also, author of Tracking Apollo to the Moon). One ...
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What is the most sustainable method of recycling (human) solid waste on a manned space vessel?

After reading and answering James Jenkins's interesting question on wiping in space, I was curious about the usage of solid waste on a manned space vessel. In his question he mentions recycling solids ...
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Artificial planet

If we have discovered artificial gravitational force, will we be able to create an artificial habitable planet in our solar system? E.g., if a rotating cylindrical object in space can produce ...
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Oxygen self-supply by plants

Plants produce oxygen, we know. This might make plants useful in the supply system of possible colonies on other planets or moons. But how efficient they are? Which is the maximum amount of oxygens ...
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How have space suits dissipated the heat removed from astronauts?

I never thought about this until reading the comments below this answer. To radiate something like 150W (a very conservative lower limit of human + suit systems heat production - see @Uwe 's comment ...
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How big is a human's space bubble?

How big is a human's (space) bubble - in other words: how far could we (as mankind) transport a human being from Earth in such a way that the being would be still alive? (Let's not consider returning.)...
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Did the Soviet TMK crew have any chance of survival with the knowledge and technology of its era?

In response to the United States announcement of manned moon landing plans, the Soviet Union announced the TMK program. This program would have sent manned missions to Venus and Mars. The original ...
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Are there any safety procedures in place on the ISS in case of puncture?

The ISS is a huge (relatively) satellite which, according to NASA, is longer than a football field. I am curious about what would happen if the station's skin was punctured - perhaps by a careless ...
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Would the life support systems on the ISS and STS work well also in 1g?

Changing gravity level can be a problem for flows of fluids, gasses, heat and for structural loads. Much equipment designed for Earth gravity fail in microgravity (even light bulbs and ballpoint pens)....
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What is the mass of the Cabin Air Rack of the Quest Joint Airlock?

And where should I have looked for this information? The mass of the avionics rack would also be nice.
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How long can a 2 person crew survive on ISS totally cut from Earth?

Something goes bad on Earth, ISS is cut from any kind of supply and the escape pods can't be used. If there are 2 people on board at that time, how long can they survive there? Did someone write a ...
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Why vent $CO_2$ and $H_2$ waste products to space on ISS?

In this answer, it's mentioned that waste $CO_2$ and $H_2$ from the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) are vented into space from ISS. Are there no other uses for this material ...
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Were the Apollo CO₂ scrubber canister designs unified after Apollo 13?

After the problem realized when trying to put up three astronauts for an extended stay in the Apollo 13 LEM, namely that the square CM CO₂ scrubbers didn't fit in the LEM's slots, were they redesigned?...
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Life support: fraction of launch weight?

What fraction of launch payload mass for a manned (or animal'd) mission is attributable to life support equipment?
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Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS) on American suits

Is the Buddy Secondary Life Support System (BSLSS) available in today's American-made spacesuits used on the International Space Station? The BSLSS enables one astronaut to provide life support (...
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Do humans need less calories and water in microgravity?

Astronauts in microgravity don't use their legs much. This has negative health effects in the long run. But I wonder if it doesn't have the good side of lowering human need for food and water and thus ...
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Where are the SAFFIRE-I results?

There was a bit of fanfare for the SAFFIRE-I experiment. I got excited... http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1761.html So they set fire to a Cygnus module before de-orbit....
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Washing clothes in space: are there any technical challenges?

Currently, the ISS is resupplied with fresh clothes from the Earth. I remember reading a report on NTRS stating that the requirements for fresh clothes proved to be much higher than expected. Thus, ...
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Is space suit using algae for oxygen production possible?

Current space suits carry oxygen bottles for oxygen and some sort of non-regenerative carbon dioxide scrubbers for removing carbon dioxide. This obviously means that a space suit is only able to ...