ISS Installs Long Duration Sorbent Testbed For Clearing The Air In Space

Posted: Nov 4 2016, 8:58am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

ISS Installs Long Duration Sorbent Testbed for Clearing the Air in Space
The Long Duration Sorbent Testbed locker was launched to the International Space Station on July 18 to test new materials for more efficient air filtration systems that would be used on longer flights into deep space. Credits: NASA
  • The Fine Art of Air Cleaning in Outer Space
 

The fine art of air cleaning in outer space will lead to an improvement in living conditions aboard the ISS and during the course of deep space probes.

The equipment that is often used in space is tested and re-tested time after time. The astronauts become experts at this task of maintenance.

A system was formed by these astronauts to ensure clean air and pure water in outer space. The testing of materials for this system, called Long Duration Sorbent Testbed, will begin soon. Every material acts under pressure in its own unique way in outer space. Alternatives and options are a necessity.

"Exposure to the unique environment in the space station can change the way materials behave," said David Howard, program manager of the investigation at Marshall. "This includes what we use to filter air and water, so we need options for systems we create for the future."

Silica gel is used in the context of the ISS life support system to ensure that the atmospheric conditions in the cabin meant for the crew are alright.

This silica gel needs to be replaced intermittently too. The atmosphere in the space station is singular in its nature. Any and all contaminants have to be removed from the environment. Thus decontamination is of paramount importance.

The making of better filters is something to which key importance is being given. The tests that will get engaged in will provide new criteria for the materials used in outer space.

"There is a complex atmosphere on the space station," said Jim Knox, an aerospace engineer at Marshall and principal investigator for the study.

"The mix of environmental contaminants alone on the station is new territory for us. As we select materials for future systems, we need to know how these materials will react to those contaminants. If we can build better filters, we can cut back on the number of replacements we would send on deep-space missions and can use that space for other payloads."

Over a dozen novel materials will be exposed to the elements in the context of space. Besides removing carbon dioxide, they will provide other benefits.

Also an oxygen generator will be on board the spacecraft or ISS. We will hopefully soon come to know which materials are most suitable for space travel thanks to extensive testing.

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