Bio-regenerative life support system development for Lunar/Mars habitats

Gene A. Giacomelli, Roberto Furfaro, Murat Kacira, Lane Patterson, David Story, Giorgio Boscheri, Cesare Lobascio, Phil Sadler, Marzia Pirolli, Roberta Remiddi, Madhu Thangavelu, Maria Catalina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Bio-regenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS) uses biological processes to support an astronaut crew, and includes atmosphere revitalization, water recycling, food production, and organic waste recycling. The University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC), Systems and Industrial Engineering Department, Sadler Machine Co. (USA) and Italian collaborators, Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I), Aero-Sekur, SpA, and University of Naples Federico II are developing BLSS for future Lunar/Mars surface missions. Current efforts at UA-CEAC include operation of four BLSS Lunar Greenhouse (LGH) Prototype Units with the primary purpose of demonstrating poly-culture production of food crops in a semi-closed gaseous cycle, and preliminary efforts of waste DWE-Composting, Solar Concentrating Plant Lighting/Power System, and System Monitoring/Telepresence Support. TAS-I, the University of Naples, and Aero-Sekur BLSS efforts in Italy include operation of Recyclab, the EDEN chamber, and the development of space plant growth chambers. UA-CEAC efforts are supported by NASA Ralph Steckler Phase II Space Grant while the Italian collaborators have been supported by ESA, ASI, and regional, and internal sources. Based on NASA crop production area estimates the LGH with its four modules will support a four person crew with 100% of their water/atmosphere recycling, and 50%of their total daily dietary caloric intake, (~1000 kcal per person). The use of BLSS in conjunction with physicochemical life support systems offers redundant life support systems for increased crew safety and a healthy diet. Unique features of the LGH effort are its closed system approach, poly-culture production for a diverse vegetarian diet, efforts to close the water cycle, integration of composting into the water and air revitalization cycles, fiber-optic delivery of concentrated sunlight for crop production, and near real-time remote decision support capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781600869341
StatePublished - 2012
Event42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012 - , United States
Duration: Jul 15 2012Jul 19 2012

Publication series

Name42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012


Other42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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