What are Closed Ecological Life Support Systems?


NASA expects to launch its first manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. NASA has a Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston, Texas, which recently stated that the astronauts on the first manned mission to Mars are considering growing their own food in a hi-tech “kitchen garden” onboard their spaceship.

  • This is because; supplying enough food for a round trip to the Red Planet is one of the greatest challenges facing mission planners.
  • The five-year mission to Mars would require almost 3,175 kilogrammes of food per person.

The laboratory says that they are looking at the possibility of implementing a bioregenerative system that would involve growing crops in space and possibly shipping some bulk commodities to a Mars habitat as well.

Please note that transition from expendable physicochemical methods to sustainable bioregenerative systems that function as a robust miniature ecosystem is another goal of bioastronautics in facilitating long duration space travel.

These systems are called Closed Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS).So; CELSS refers to the scientific endeavour to create a self-supporting life support system for space stations and colonies typically through controlled closed ecological systems.

  • The examples of CELSS are BioHome, BIOS-3 and Biosphere 2.

The concept of CELSS was pioneered by Russians, particularly Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and fV.I. Vernadsky. They are known for making efforts to develop the closed, unmanned ecosystems, expanding into the research facility known as the BIOS-3.

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