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Waste Manag Res. 1991 Oct;9(5):401-14.

Technology tradeoffs related to advanced mission waste processing.

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  • 1Boeing Defense and Space Group, Seattle, Washington 98124, USA.


Manned missions to the Moon and Mars will produce waste, both in liquid and solid form, from the day-to-day life-support functions of the mission--even considering a "closed" physico-chemical life support approach. An "open" life support system configuration, even one reliant on in situ resources, would result in even more waste being produced. The solution for short term missions appears to be either to store these wastes on-site or to convert them to useful products needed by other systems such as methane, water and gases which could be used for propulsion. The solution for longer term missions appears to be to incorporate their use within the life support system itself by making them a part of a closed ecological life-support system where nearly all materials are recycled. This paper discusses briefly the extent and impact of the life-support system waste production problem for a lunar base for different life support system configurations, including the impact of using in situ resources to meet life support requirements. It then discusses in more detail trade-offs among six of the currently funded physico-chemical waste processing technologies being considered for use in space.

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