NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research has selected Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, for a five-year grant totaling $10 million to lead a NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) for Advanced Life Support (ALS) that will develop technologies to enable long-duration planetary missions and sustain human space colonies.
This ALS NSCORT will consist of a consortium of institutions that includes Purdue and two historically black universities, Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama, and Howard University in Washington. Scientists and engineers from all three institutions will work together to conduct research on a number of self-sustaining technologies required for long-duration space missions, including solid-waste processing, water recovery and air revitalization, and food processing and food safety.
"I'm very pleased with the outstanding proposal received from Purdue and look forward to a rich and productive scientific return that can help substantially reduce the cost of supporting humans on future long-duration space missions," said Dr. Guy Fogleman, Acting Director for the Bioastronautics Research Division and lead for the Advanced Human Support Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
The team of investigators will work to design a self-sustaining environment for future space colonies where the inhabitants will live inside fully enclosed structures; grow their own food; and constantly process, recycle and purify all wastes. Plants will provide a source of food and oxygen, microbes will be used to break down wastes, and other technologies will be needed to remove impurities from the air and water.
The ALS NSCORT was established to advance fundamental knowledge in life-support technologies with the ultimate application of enabling human space flight and long-term planetary missions. This NSCORT is expected to enhance NASA's base of scholarship, skills and performance in space biological and biomedical sciences and related technological areas. The effort also will expand the pool of research scientists and engineers trained to meet the challenges ahead as NASA prepares for human space exploration missions.
NASA received four proposals from universities in response to the research solicitation released in July 2001. Proposals were peer-reviewed by scientific and technical experts from academia and government before a selection was made. Evaluation of proposals also included review by NASA program scientists and managers for programmatic relevance and cost.
Additional information about the NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research is available on the Internet at:
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