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Accession Number N20120016066
Title Investigation of Supercritical Water Phenomena for Space and Extraterrestrial Application.
Publication Date May 2012
Media Count 10p
Personal Author J. W. Fisher M. C. Hicks U. G. Hegde
Abstract The cost of carrying or resupplying life support resources for long duration manned space exploration missions such as a mission to Mars is prohibitive and requires the development of suitable recycling technologies. Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) has been identified as an attractive candidate for these extended missions because (i) pre-drying of wet waste streams is not required, (ii) product streams are relatively benign, microbially inert, and easily reclaimed, (iii) waste conversion is complete and relatively fast, and (iv) with proper design and operation, reactions can be self-sustaining. Initial work in this area at NASA was carried out at the Ames Research Center in the 1990 s with a focus on understanding the linkages between feed stock preparation (i.e., particle size and distribution) of cellulosic based waste streams and destruction rates under a range of operating temperatures and pressures. More recently, work in SCWO research for space and extra-terrestrial application has been performed at NASA s Glenn Research Center where various investigations, with a particular focus in the gravitational effects on the thermo-physical processes occurring in the bulk medium, have been pursued. In 2010 a collaborative NASA/CNES (the French Space Agency) experiment on the critical transition of pure water was conducted in the long duration microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). A follow-on experiment, to study the precipitation of salt in sub-critical, trans-critical and supercritical water is scheduled to be conducted on the ISS in 2013. This paper provides a brief history of NASA s earlier work in SCWO, discusses the potential for application of SCWO technology in extended space and extraterrestrial missions, describes related research conducted on the ISS, and provides a list of future research activities to advance this technology in both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial applications.
Keywords Costs
Gravitational effects
International space station
Life support systems
Manned space flight
Nasa programs
Space exploration
Spaceborne experiments

Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 95E - Life Support Systems
84G - Unmanned Spacecraft
84C - Manned Spacecraft
Corporate Author National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH. NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1314
Contract Number NNC08BA08B

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