. 24/7 Space News .
Photobioreactor: oxygen and a source of nutrition for astronauts
by Staff Writers
Friedrichshafen, Germany (SPX) Apr 29, 2019


Airbus is bringing another experimental system to the International Space Station (ISS) in the form of the photobioreactor (PBR). The PBR, developed by the University of Stuttgart and built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), is designed to convert part of the CO2 extracted by the 'LSR' Life Support Rack on board the ISS into oxygen and biomass, which could help to save valuable resources during future long-term missions into space.

Future human research missions are expected to take astronauts to the Moon and Mars. A deciding factor for the success of these missions will be keeping the resources carried to a minimum. As it is both difficult and expensive to send new supplies from Earth, the greatest possible closure of the respective resource cycles for water, oxygen and food is of vital importance. Most waste water is already reprocessed into fresh water on the ISS.

The Life Support Rack (LSR) of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been on the ISS since October 2018. The rack, which was built by Airbus and was formerly known as the ACLS (Advanced Closed Loop System), collects the carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled by the astronauts and uses a Sabatier process to convert this back into oxygen by means of electrolysis. The ISS experiment 'PBR@LSR' is a technology demonstration designed to convert CO2 into oxygen and biomass. To achieve this, the PBR will be connected to the LSR physicochemical system (hybrid approach) and operated for up to 180 days, during which time the stability and performance of the system and the algae culture will be recorded and evaluated.

The Chlorella vulgaris microalgae was selected as the photosynthesiser, which is already being used as a food (supplement), as it is very rich in protein. In future, some 30% of the astronauts' food could be replaced by this algal biomass.

The CO2 required is, for the most part, to be supplied by the LSR. In the event that no CO2 is available, the algae can also be supplied with the CO2 it needs from a bottle carried on board. The algae is fed with a nutrient solution every 14 days, while at the same time being thinned out to allow new algae space to grow. Once the experiment is complete, the performance and life cycles of the culture will be evaluated, with several samples sent back to Earth for genetic analysis.

The hybrid approach, as used in 'PBR@LSR', will not only be of benefit on long-term missions in space; it will also allow resources to be saved in a more general sense, thereby also boosting sustainable business practices on Earth.

The next development stage of technological importance would be processing the harvested biomass to produce food. Chlorella vulgaris is already in use as a source of protein in a wide range of food. In contrast to ground-based processing, suitable, highly efficient processing methods that are lightweight and require only limited space and energy are yet to be developed for space flight.

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

NASA's OCO-3 Measures How Plants Grow and Glow
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 10, 2019
When plants take in too much energy, they don't get fat - they lighten up. They absorb more sunlight than they need to power photosynthesis, and they get rid of the excess solar energy by emitting it as a very faint glow. The light is far too dim for us to notice under normal circumstances, but it can be measured with a spectrometer. Called solar-induced fluorescence (SIF), it's the most accurate signal of photosynthesis that can be observed from space. That's important because, as Earth's climate ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

New concept for novel fire extinguisher in space

Music for space

NASA astronaut to set record for longest spaceflight by a woman

Multiple regenerative medicine payloads ready for ISS study

SpaceX, NASA tight-lipped on cause of crew capsule incident

SpaceX to launch cargo resupply mission despite Crew Dragon mishap

NASA accelerates pace of Core Stage production with new tool

Roscosmos, S7 Group Mull Developing Reusable Commercial Space Vehicle

ESA to Lose Member State Support if ExoMars Launch Postponed - Director-General

InSight lander captures audio of first likely 'quake' on Mars

All-woman engineering team heads to NASA Mars competition

A small step for China: Mars base for teens opens in desert

China to build moon station in 'about 10 years'

China opens Chang'e-6 for international payloads, asteroids next

China to enhance international space cooperation

China's commercial carrier rocket finishes engine test

The Third Installment of the SpaceFund Reality (SFR) rating

Iridium Awarded Gateway Support and Maintenance Contract by the U.S. Department of Defense

ESA opening up to new ideas

Canadian Space Agency Sees Science Cooperation With Russia as Area of Growth

Modified 'white graphene' for eco-friendly energy

RIT researcher collaborates with UR to develop new form of laser for sound

UNH scientists find auroral 'speed bumps' are more complicated

Debris of Satellite Destroyed by India May Threaten ISS - Russian MoD

Rapid destruction of Earth-like atmospheres by young stars

Oil-eating bacteria found at the bottom of the ocean

Slime mold memorizes foreign substances by absorbing them

Necrophagy: A means of survival in the Dead Sea

Next-Generation NASA Instrument Advanced to Study the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune

Public Invited to Help Name Solar System's Largest Unnamed World

Europa Clipper High-Gain Antenna Undergoes Testing

Scientists to Conduct Largest-Ever Hubble Survey of the Kuiper Belt

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.