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extraterrestrial colonies, or simulated extraterrestrial environments, about their function, design, effectiveness, historical references, or any other considerations regarding their use in space exploration.

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9
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
21
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3answers
21k views

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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4answers
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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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7answers
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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 ...
45
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1answer
5k views

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 ...
23
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2answers
25k views

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 ...
10
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3answers
794 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 ...
21
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2answers
7k views

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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4answers
2k views

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?
60
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3answers
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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, ...
23
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1answer
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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?...
16
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1answer
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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 ...
6
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1answer
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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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3answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
8
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1answer
482 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 ...
22
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
9
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2answers
399 views

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)....
4
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1answer
773 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 ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What would determine the interior temperature of a large space station?

If one calculates the black-body temperature of an object in space, it turns out that it would be at room temperature somewhere between the orbits of Earth and Venus. But due to the greenhouse effect, ...
31
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1answer
3k 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 ...
19
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1answer
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Air in International Space Station

How do astronauts/cosmonauts manage the atmosphere at the International Space Station as their missions are years long, versus shorter flights? Do they recycle? Import via cargo vessels? Electrolyze ...
16
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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2answers
107 views

Would a biological resource-system be feasible for long-term manned flights?

Supposing a long-term manned flight is planned would a biological resource-system be considered as an option? Would a biological resource-system work or is a technical solution superior? Currently ...
26
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4answers
8k 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 ...
17
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2answers
4k 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 ...
11
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1answer
730 views

Could the ISS pressurized elements withstand a full depressurization?

In case of necessity -- for example in case of fire or contamination -- is it possible for any pressurized element of the ISS to be exposed to vacuum? If all compartments and airlocks were to be ...
11
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2answers
365 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 ...
8
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1answer
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Oxygen toxicity vs Apollo mission preparation

In the article on Apollo command module design, I read: The cabin atmosphere at launch was changed to 60% oxygen and 40% nitrogen at sea-level pressure: 14.7 psi (10.1 N/cm2). During ascent the cabin ...
6
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2answers
678 views

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 ...
20
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2answers
452 views

Is converting moon dust into oxygen a viable option for sustainability?

On the about page for Project Morpheus, the possibility of converting moon dust into oxygen is mentioned: It was manufactured and assembled at JSC and Armadillo Aerospace. Morpheus is large enough ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Could an EVA Suit meant for Mars be used for EVA on another celestial, or vice-versa?

A quick follow-up to What is the power requirement of a spacesuit? The Apollo 11 crew were in a vacuum out on Luna; their space-suits fulfilled the purpose of a basic space-suit about which Wikipedia ...
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2answers
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Depressurization of a habitat on Mars

Wikipedia lists the atmospheric pressure of Mars to be about 600 pascals, or just 0.6% of Earth's atmosphere. I'm wondering, can anyone shed any light on what that means, in practical terms? ...
3
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1answer
158 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 ...
2
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1answer
111 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 ...
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1answer
105 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. ...