Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse
This approach allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solids residuals treatment and recycle to be removed from the usable habitat volume and placed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. It also provides a mechanism to recover and reuse water treatment (solids) residuals to strengthen the habitat shell. Water-wall treatment elements are a much-enlarged version of the commercially available X-Pack hydration bag. Some water bags have pervaporation membranes facing inward that provide the capability to remove H0, C0, and trace organics from the atmosphere. Ideally the water wall is composed of a series of membrane bags packed as dry elements integrated into an inflatable habitat structure wall. After launch and deployment, it is filled with water and maintained as both a freshwater supply and radiation shield. As the initial water supply is consumed, the depleted treatment bags are filled with waste water and take on a dual role of active forward osmosis (FO) water treatment and water-wall radiation shielding.
Dielectrophoresis-Based Particle Sensor Using Nanoelectrode Arrays
A time-varying electrical field E, having a root-mean-square intensity of 2rms, with a non-zero gradient in a direction transverse to the liquid or fluid flow direction, is produced by a nanostructure electrode array with a very high magnitude gradient near exposed electrode tips. A dielectrophoretic force causes the selected particles to accumulate near the electrode tips, if the medium and selected particles have substantially different dielectric constants. An insulating material surrounds most of the nanostructure electrodes, and a region of the insulating material surface is functionalized to promote attachment of the selected particle species to the surface. An electrical property value Z(meas) is measured at the functionalized surface, and is compared with a reference value Z(ref) to determine if the selected species particles are attached to the functionalized surface. An advantage of this innovation is that an array of nanostructure electrodes can provide an electric field intensity gradient that is one or more orders of magnitude greater than the corresponding gradient provided by a conventional microelectrode arrangement. As a result of the high magnitude field intensity gradients, a nanostructure concentrator can trap particles from high-speed microfluidic flows. This is critical for applications where the entire analysis must be performed in a few minutes.
information technology and software
MERRA/AS and Climate Analytics-as-a-Service (CAaaS)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center now offers a new capability for meeting this Big Data challenge: MERRA Analytic Services (MERRA/AS). MERRA/AS combines the power of high-performance computing, storage-side analytics, and web APIs to dramatically improve customer access to MERRA data. It represents NASAs first effort to provide Climate Analytics-as-a-Service. Retrospective analyses (or reanalyses) such as MERRA have long been important to scientists doing climate change research. MERRA is produced by NASAs Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO), which is a component of the Earth Sciences Division in Goddards Sciences and Exploration Directorate. GMAOs research and development activities aim to maximize the impact of satellite observations in climate, weather, atmospheric, and land prediction using global models and data assimilation. These products are becoming increasingly important to application areas beyond traditional climate science. MERRA/AS provides a new cloud-based approach to storing and accessing the MERRA dataset. By combining high-performance computing, MapReduce analytics, and NASAs Climate Data Services API (CDS API), MERRA/AS moves much of the work traditionally done on the client side to the server side, close to the data and close to large compute power. This reduces the need for large data transfers and provides a platform to support complex server-side data analysesit enables Climate Analytics-as-a-Service. MERRA/AS currently implements a set of commonly used operations (such as avg, min, and max) over all the MERRA variables. Of particular interest to many applications is a core collection of about two dozen MERRA land variables (such as humidity, precipitation, evaporation, and temperature). Using the RESTful services of the Climate Data Services API, it is now easy to extract basic historical climatology information about places and time spans of interest anywhere in the world. Since the CDS API is extensible, the community can participate in MERRA/ASs development by contributing new and more complex analytics to the MERRA/AS service. MERRA/AS demonstrates the power of CAaaS and advances NASAs ability to connect data, science, computational resources, and expertise to the many customers and applications it serves.
Microwave-Based Water Decontamination System
Bacterial contamination of water systems used in microgravity is a major issue for NASA because biofilms can clog or interfere with water system functions and bacterial ingestion can be harmful to astronaut health. To address this problem, NASA innovators developed a microwave based technology to purify contaminated water by eradicating and eliminating bacteria that grows in systems that generate potable water, in equipment utilizing cooling loops and heat exchangers, and removing bacterial contamination that is present on a variety of surfaces. This decontamination system is chemical free and requires minimal to no consumables. Initial testing identified a specific microwave frequency band and exposure times for killing bacteria (Burkholderia cepacia) and biofilm. Test results show that exposing static water to microwave energy for 90 seconds can effectively kill waterborne bacteria and biofilm within a water filtration system. Additional testing, using a circulating water test bed, demonstrated that microwave energy at the selected frequency can effectively eradicate waterborne bacteria within 30 seconds. This technology could be further developed into a portable, lightweight system for use in remote locations as well as commercial space applications. The microwave decontamination system could also be added to existing water systems to extend the life of the system.
Contaminated Water Treatment
This invention is a system and associated method that is a two step process. It provides a contaminant treatment pouch, referred to as a urine cell or contaminant cell that converts urine or another liquid containing contaminants into a fortified drink, engineered to meet human hydration, electrolyte and caloric requirements. It uses a variant of forward osmosis (FO) to draw water from a urine container into the concentrated fortified drink as part of a recycling stage. An activated carbon pretreatment removes most organic molecules. Salinity of the initial liquid mix (urine plus other) is synergistically used to enhance the precipitation of organic molecules so that activated carbon can remove most of the organics. A functional osmotic bag is then used to remove inorganic contaminants. If a contaminant is processed for which the saline content is different than optimal for precipitating organic molecules, the saline content of the liquid should be adjusted toward the optimal value for that contaminant.
Soil Remediation With Plant-Fungal Combinations
The technology builds on the existing notion that establishment of trees in contaminated soils can be enhanced through the use of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi. EM fungi impart resistance to soil extremes such as high temperature, high acidity and heavy metal contamination. This process for soil remediation utilizes specific plant/fungal combinations that are specifically adapted to conditions created by phenolic application to soils, and abilities of ectomycorrhizal fungi to oxidize these compounds. This is done by taking advantage of the ability of native fungi to upregulate enzyme genes in response to changes in host physiological condition and hence enhance natural phenolic oxidation in soils by up to 5-fold. Ectomycorrhizal mediated remediation of phenolic- based contamination through use of specifically adapted ectomycorrhizal fungi and enzymes utilizes the findings that EM fungi in the genera Russula and Piloderma react with positive growth responses to phenolic-based soil contamination. The activities of enzymes that oxidize these compounds increase in activity by 5 fold when the host tree is partially defoliated, which in turn imparts an increase in phenolic oxidation in soils by a similar amount. Defoliation is done by pine needle removal, where 50% of the needles are removed. This process is performed each year on new growth to maintain defoliation.
materials and coatings
Holey Carbon Allotropes
This invention is for scalable methods that allows preparation of bulk quantities of holey nanocarbons with holes ranging from a few to over 100 nm in diameter. The first method uses metal particles as a catalyst (silver, copper, e.g.) and offers a wider range of hole diameter. The second method is free of catalysts altogether and offers more rapid processing in a single step with minimal product work-up requirements and does not require solvents, catalysts, flammable gases, additional chemical agents, or electrolysis. The process requires only commercially available materials and standard laboratory equipment; and, it is scalable. Properties that can be controlled include: surface area, pore volume, mechanical properties, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity.
Wastewater Treatment and Remediation
NASA's system was developed for smaller-scale, space-based applications. However, the technology is scalable for larger industrial and municipal water treatment applications. Implementation of the Ammonia Recovery System could significantly reduce nitrogen content from water treatment processes, meaningfully improving the quality of water. This system offers a novel way to reduce nitrogen water pollutants, while allowing for the nitrogen to be collected and reused- reducing environmental and public health risks and providing an environmentally friendly fertilizer option. NASAs environmental solutions work to sustain life on earth through space based technology The adaptable nature of this system gives it potentially broad applications in a wide variety of industries; it is particularly ideal for on-site remediation of wastewater in places like condo complexes, hotels and water parks. Current methods of ammonia recovery could not meet NASAs mission requirements, so a new process was devised to optimize for high ammonia selectivity, simplicity, low volume , low power usage and zero contaminants in the effluent. To do this, NASA designed a novel regenerable struvite-formation system for the capture of ammonia. This system has three primary functions: 1) Removal of ammonia from wastewater using a media that is highly selective for ammonia 2) Capture of the ammonia for later use (e.g., as a fertilizer) 3) Regeneration of the capture media for reuse in the system
Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes
The photobioreactors allow light to enter through their transparent upper surface and optimizes the efficiency of light utilization with a light-reflective lower surface inside. Deployed in the marine environment, the gradient between the freshwater inside the system and the saltwater outside drives forward osmosis. The water removed through semi-permeable (forward osmosis) membranes is cleaned as it is released into the marine environment. In addition, this process concentrates nutrients in the algae medium to stimulate growth, and concentrates the algae to facilitate harvesting. The harvested algae can be used to make biofuels, fertilizer, animal food, or other products. The photobioreactors are intended for use in naturally or artificially protected marine environments with small waves and gentle currents. The system can also be used in artificial brine pools and freshwater basins or reservoirs, however in freshwater the forward osmosis feature cannot be used.
Pre-Treatment Solution for Water Recovery
The pre-treatment solution increases the solubility of calcium in urine brines by reducing the concentration of sulfates. When the solution is properly dosed, it enables biological, physical, and chemical stabilization of flushed urine for storage and distillation up to a steady 87% water recovery, as realized aboard the U.S. segment of the ISS, without precipitation of minerals such as gypsum. Turning wastewater or seawater into potable water requires three important steps shared by the UPA and Water Recovery System (WRS) aboard the ISS: 1) pre-treatment, 2) distillation or membrane filtration, and 3) transport and storage of potable water and brine. Added during the first step, the pre-treatment solution improves the efficiency of the UPA by reducing the formation of solid precipitates caused by urinary calcium, sulfate ions, and sulfuric acid. This reduction in-turn creates less acidic brines which means more water can be recovered along with less surface scaling and clogging, further increasing recovery. As an added benefit, the solution contains a biocide that prevents the growth of bacteria and fungus, thereby increasing storage time of the treated urine. Although the pre-treatment solution was developed for the ISSs UPA , the technology can potentially be used on Earth to pretreat contaminated water from organic-laden, high-salinity wastewaters. Adding the solution is a simple process that can be scaled to fit demand. It has the potential to improve water recovery in many applications such as: desalination plants, brackish water treatment, mining water treatment, hydraulic fracturing operations, and more. The pre-treatment solution may also lend itself for use in the transport and storage of wastewater due to the solution's ability to prevent microbial growth.