Advanced Life Support Systems (ALSS) are required to sustain human habitation of space over long time periods. As we progress from Space Station, to Lunar Base, to Mars Mission, to Orbital Space Settlements the distances involved make the logistics of resupply extremely difficult and costly. Systems must be implemented which revitalize the atmosphere, produce food, reclaim and purify water, destroy solid wastes, and recycle precious materials for re-use. These systems must be efficient, reliable, and have minimal requirements for re-supply to maintain long term operation. To achieve these goals, a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) is envisioned which mimics natural biogeochemical processes. In the CELSS approach, bioregenerative systems are used to the maximum extent practical. The growth of green plants can serve the dual purpose of food production and atmospheric revitalization, bacterial consortia in immobilized cell or activated sludge bioreactors can be used to remove toxic organics from water reclamation streams, similar bioreactors can be used to process inedible plant biomass and other solid wastes, etc. Integrated systems will be tested in a completely closed environment at NASA-JSC under the Early Human Test Initiative. Integrated systems will also be evaluated in the antarctic under the CELSS Antartic Analog project conducted jointly between the National Science Foundation and NASA-Ames.


Flynn, M., et al., A Laboratory-Scale Controlled Ecological Life Support System, SAE Technical Paper Series No. 941293, presented at 24th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Germany, 1994.

 Sun, S., Henninger, D., Tri, T., and Sager, J., NASA's Approach to Integrated System Testing of Regenerative Life Support Systems, SAE Technical Paper Series No. 951494, presented at 25th International Conference on Environmental Systems, San Diego, CA, July 10-13, 1995.

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Web author: Tugrul Sezen
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Curator: Al Globus
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
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