Nature-inspired, multi-functional surface coatings for space applications, fabricated by additive manufacturing

Conference Dates

September 8-13, 2019


Conditions in space are extreme. Nevertheless, the goal for the indoor environment on the International Space Station (ISS) remains the same as on Earth: to provide comfort and a healthy quality of life. The environmental control and life-support system (ECLSS) is, among others, responsible for the absorption of humidity from cabin air, which is treated, stored, and re-used. However, efficiency could be improved, as only 70-93% of water is recyclable, and costly resupply from Earth is needed. Additionally, astronauts on the ISS experience 0.5 Sv of ionizing radiation in one year, consisting of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar particle events (SPE). Beyond Earth’s magnetic field this can increase immensely, due to potential solar flares, leading to the biggest risk to astronauts’ health, including experience of radiation syndrome and cancer, but, furthermore, threatens future bio-regenerative ECLSS. Furthermore, with humidity of more than 60%, organisms such as bacteria and fungi start to disperse and proliferate. The weakened immune system of astronauts, limited treatment, no immediate return to Earth, and increasing resistance of bacteria, reinforces the control of microbial contamination. Currently, neither of the above is feasible for future missions to Moon, Mars, and beyond and, therefore, finding new approaches for regenerative life support through passive systems is crucial.

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