14 weeks individual project
Role: Life Cycle Analysis (LCA),
System design, Product design
POR is a radiation shield made from specialized plastic that is created through the repurposing of human waste.
As we begin to explore the possibility of landing humans on the Moon for longer missions (such as a 6-month Lunar Outpost Mission), the way we manage human waste still only supports a short visit in deep space.
POR is a construction material for lunar habitats that addresses two of the largest roadblocks to human exploration of space: radiation and waste management.
Design a lunar-based system of product/service for the year 2030.
Conducting sustainability strategies, the overarching objectives is that the concept will create an ‘Earth/Moon Partnership’ to enhance and extend life on Earth. I chose to focus on human waste management for the early phase of long-term lunar missions.
The Challenge of Human Waste
Currently, we depend on Earth to resupply materials and to incinerate human waste; however, as we inhabit the Moon and other locations in space, this will neither be possible nor sustainable.
Driven by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), I broke down the astronaut's journey of using the space toilet. I also assessed the environmental impact of the current human waste management on the International Space Station (ISS) in order to pinpoint key pain points.
Observing crew member's journey using space toilet on the ISS
Analyzing Waste Management System (WMS)
This Linear System is Throwing Potential Resource Away With a Heavy Use of Energy and Materials.
_A Technology to Process Human Waste for In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
One potential waste-processing advancement that I incorporated is the Torrefaction Processing Unit (TPU). This new method allows solid human waste to convert into a stable char product, which has multiple potential uses, such as generating plastic. (Read more about this LRR technology at NASA)
_Human Survival for Lunar Outpost Mission: Mitigate Radiation
Seeing the potential to shield against radiation from this new human waste converted plastic, this project proposes a way to turn a never-ending source of waste into a sustainable source of material for use in shielding radiation and for lunar habitat construction.
Exploring possible applications:
A roadmap to develop ideas
A Water Wall Structure Inspired by Plant Leaves
Water and plastic materials mitigate radiation effectively. Inspired by the vein structures of plant leaves, the POR design uses this new plastic from human waste to form a vascular system for the habitat.
The POR Habitat Structure
The habitat specs are defined by the requirements for lunar outpost crew missions, using the studies on radiation protection and structural design for lunar habitat.
_Four crew members, rotate every six months
_Habitat volume: > 480 m3
_Water wall thickness > 0.25 m
Provide radiation protection to mitigate the dose <50 rem/yr.
_Repurposed plastic, assume it could become printable material.
_Water, which will have dual usage in the future.
_Rigid over inflatable for long-term missions
_Spherical/ Cylindrical form to endure even radiation dose and avoid pressure tension.