Paula Cleggett-Haleim Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

(Phone: 202/453-1547) Jane Hutchison Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. (Phone: 415/604-4968) RELEASE: 90-73

May 25, 1990

NEW ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT DIVISION ESTABLISHED AT NASA AMES

How can astronauts grow their own food, live and work on the moon and safely explore the harsh environment of Mars? Research into these and similar questions will be the prime focus of the newly created Advanced Life Support Division at NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif. William E. Berry, who heads the new organization, said the goal is to support President Bush's plan for a permanent lunar settlement and an astronaut mission to Mars. Berry said the new division, which consolidates such research efforts at Ames under a single organization, will focus its efforts on developing new technologies that will allow humans to live and work productively in space for long periods of time. As missions become longer and crews larger, storing or resupplying food, water, oxygen and other consumables becomes prohibitively expensive and difficult. The life support system necessary to meet crew members' daily needs without resupply

consists of several elements: thermal control, air revitalization and food, water and solid waste management.

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Berry's division has responsibility for developing several new life support technologies, including: -- "Closed-loop" life-support systems, using physical or chemical means to generate nutrients, gases and liquids from waste products. Ames is the lead center for development of physical-chemical systems, which use chemical processes to convert carbon dioxide, waste water and solid wastes to breathable air, potable water and food. -- A "bioregenerative, closed-loop" system, called Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS), using plants to produce food and recycle water vapor, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Work at Ames emphasizes developing a crop growth research chamber and space flight investigations to study the performance of CELSS technology in space and to maximize the growth of edible plants under controlled conditions. -- Creation of new space suits and portable life support systems. These technologies could be used in the exploration of Mars or the lunar surface. Included is the AX-5 space suit, an all-metal high-pressure suit which for the first time will allow astronauts to exit the shuttle or space station without first breathing pure oxygen for several hours. This "pre-breathe" phase is currently necessary to prevent the "bends," a life-threatening condition resulting from the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood stream.

Berry is conducting a nationwide search for scientists and engineers to join his research and development team. "We are looking for talented, creative people who want to help develop the space technology of the future," he said. "The unique human habitats we will build in space may provide technologies useful in solving some of the critical environmental issues which we face on Earth today." - end -

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TO: MDS/PRA Group 1615 L Street, N.W. - Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20036 DATE & TIME: MAY 27, 1990 ORDERED BY: Edward Campion NASA Headquarters/LMD 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20546 PHONE: 202/453-8400 PROJECT TITLE: Release No: 90-73 PRINT ORDER: 2260 PRINTING: Camera Ready, lst pg on NASA logo, other pages plain ENCLOSE & MAIL: Release of 2 pages MAIL DATE: MAY 30, 1990

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