NASA Langley-4
NASA Langley-1
NASA Langley-5
NASA Langley-3
NASA Langley-2
NASA Langley Simulator
NASA LANGLEY SIMULATOR
General Dynamics Convair Division & NASA Langley Space Station, Hampton, Virginia, 1960.

ASSUMING THAT AN ASTRONAUT NEEDS 11 POUNDS OF WATER AND TWO POUNDS OF OXYGEN PER DAY, IF SEAL HIM INTO A SPACESHIP HOW LONG WOULD THIS QUANTITY LAST HIM?

 

In the early 1960s, the NASA Langley Space station in Hampton, Virginia collaborated with the Convair Division of General Dynamics in San Diego to manufacture an experimental regenerative life-support facility completely sequestered from the exterior world. The prototype, called the NASA Living Pod, was a sealable steel spherical hull designed to take care of the basic physiological requirements of four men for a full year, with minimal re-supply once every three months.


What was strikingly different about the case of the new simulator is that NASA documented in real-time the residency of the four men crew in a promotional motion picture for television entitled The Case for Regeneration. Directed by Robert B. Montague and produced by the General Dynamics Convair Division with the cooperation of General Electric Co, the Whirlpool Corporation and other engineering manufacturers, this motion picture was a prelude of a carefully edited reality show. The film monitored the sealed men shaving, disposing their waste in conserved plastic bags, unpacking and consuming vacuum sealed food and executing daily hygienic functions with equipment explicitly designed for space travel. This record of daily practice was publicized as the dawn of a new space age, in celebration of mankind’s boundless territorial expansion, outwards to the unexplored margins of the cosmos.


A great deal of research effort was applied to this experiment bringing together medical practitioners, chemical engineers, physiologists, food technologists, microbiologists, analysts and architects. Throughout 1960 and 1966, alternate crews of four men were enclosed and shot on camera twenty four hours per day in the NASA Living Pod for periods of four months and longer. The men were rigorously trained to use the facilities of the living simulator, and tested numerically all their actions in the hermetically sealed environment. Everyday routine habits, how to shave, how to clean their bodies, how to urinate, eat and even sit, were vital to the duration of their stay in the living pod. In order for the men to survive without additional provisions inside this experimental spaceship, and eventually to venture into outer space where the environmental conditions are inhospitable to man’s physiology (as NASA tells us), it was necessary that all human waste be converted to oxygen, water, and, hopefully, food. The men’s waste products, such as their urine, would be processed to reclaim water using techniques of electrodialysis, closed-cycle air evaporation and vacuum compression distillation.


In the enclosed experiment, the subjects experienced nausea, headaches and eventually contaminated the system with their human waste. Shed hair, fingernails, and skin infiltrated the collectors; eventually the subjects had to be removed from the cabin earlier than the expiration date of the experiment. What is important to observe in this case is that the malfunction of the system was not directly derivative from the malfunction of its subsystems and its feedback loops. The subjects did store their waste in the designated compartments after conducting their daily personal hygiene routine, as instructed in from the feedback diagram. Though, floating waste material, material so finely grained that could not be incorporated in the recirculatory process, escaped and eventually randomly coagulated in disorderly patterns, namely contaminants. Therefore, contaminants may be considered as new bodies produced by the system as the coagulation and sedimentation of free-floating energies, that are leftover from transference processes; eventually they sediment and crystallize in new material bodies.
 

Captain Robert Freitag, Deputy Director of the Manned Space flight Center at NASA declared in a conference at Princeton University, that much is yet unknown in many areas of interaction associated with the development of a closed ecosystem. Algorithms must be developed to define the basic supporting relationships between man, animals, plants and microorganisms and to define the conditions under which ecological closure can exist. This area could prove to be the single most demanding technology to be developed
in our century.

 

KEYWORDS: Contaminant, Egosphere, Leaking

KEY FAILURES

CONTAMINATION: The enclosed subjects experienced nausea, headaches and eventually contaminated the system with their human waste. Shed hair, fingernails, and skin infiltrated the collectors; eventually the subjects had to be removed from the cabin earlier than the expiration date of the experiment.

CONTAMINATION: The malfunction of the system was not directly derivative from the malfunction of its subsystems and its feedback loops. Floating waste material, material so finely grained that could not be incorporated in the recirculatory process, escaped and eventually randomly coagulated in disorderly patterns, namely contaminants.

UNKNOWN ASPECTS ABOUT CLOSED ECOSYSTEMS: Much is yet unknown in many areas of interaction associated with the development of a closed ecosystem. Algorithms must be developed to define the basic supporting relationships between man, animals, plants and microorganisms and to define the conditions under which ecological closure can exist.

CONTAMINATION: Tentury.