Saturday, November 24, 2012

There are many problems with long distance space travel other than getting there faster for time’s sake that are problematic, two of the biggies are having some sort of life support and keeping radiation out. Most of the systems developed to date are complex, bulky, and generally have some problems. I have dealt with the life support portion very affectively in my (spoiler alert) book three, but NASA has dealt with both in a new concept where their solution is weaved into the hull itself.

Requirements that sadly many overlook are mankind’s basic needs for oxygen, fresh food, fresh water, and disposal of waste – CO2 included. To deal with this NASA has come up with the most basic of concepts, Water Walls. Apparently when utilizing the model pictured below, they will not only provide protection from radiation, cost very litte to make and are maintenance free, manage thermal concerns and contribute far less mass and clutter to a space craft than other thoughts, but with their hexagonal bags of filters and algae or bacteria are capable of processing both solid, liquid, and gaseous waste. NASA are says it can provide a food source but perhaps the astronauts will want to opt out on that one.

As one can see in the depiction, due to the bunch of the cells that would exist, there isn’t a lot of worry about failure. NASA suggests that this sort of technology could be used to protect and support a crew on long multi-year missions. Personally I see several problems, one of the simplest would be springing a leak, the other would be if the H2O algae would provide enough O2 for the occupants of the spaceship, but then maybe it is only to support a crew of four or five and not the Starship Enterprise,

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