This project focused on employing advanced biological engineering and bioelectrochemical reactor systems to increase life support loop closure and in situ resource utilization capabilities, and reduce mission equivalent system mass (ESM) in space. The Synthetic Biology Environmental Control and Life Support System (SB-ECLSS) element involved the development of a novel bioelectrochemical reactor concept system to treat human urine while converting the resultant carbon dioxide to methane and water. Advanced techniques were employed to develop highly adapted microbial communities. The anode and cathode compartments demonstrated functionality separately and when integrated, though performance requires improvement for future utilization. Bioelectrochemical systems are a platform technology, as it is possible to convert carbon dioxide to additional products including food, fuels, biopolymers and pharmaceuticals.
The overall goal of the SSB project was to demonstrate Synthetic Biology-enabled technologies that redefine the trade space for advanced biological ECLSS, quantify design trades between purely physicochemical ECLSS and SB-ECLSS and define a roadmap for demonstrating and integrating SB-ECLSS in future destination systems and for developing risk-reducing prototypes. The component technologies developed by this project are aligned with NASA Strategic Plan (NPD 1001.0B) Objective 1.1: Expand human presence into the solar system and and to the surface of Mars to adnvance exploration, science, innovation, benefits to humanity, and international collaboration. The project is also aligned with Technology Roadmap areas TA06 (Human Health, Life Support and Habitation Systems) and TA07 (Human Exploration Destination Systems). Integrated system demonstrations will help to define pathways for incorporation of Synthetic Biology into future mission scenarios.
The SB-ECLSS project consisted of six major tasks areas which included:
The technology primarily benefits exploration missions where multifunctional systems that help close life support loops and enable in situ resource utlization will be required to reduce dependence on resupply from Earth.More »
|Organizations Performing Work
|Ames Research Center (ARC)
|Moffett Field, California
|J. Craig Venter Institute, Inc.
|La Jolla, California
|Johnson Space Center (JSC)
|Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
|Kennedy Space Center, Florida
|Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
|University of California-Santa Cruz
|Santa Cruz, California