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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

Krasnoyarsk scientists explained how to recycle sanitary wastes in space

12 April 2019 г.

Красноярские ученые рассказали, как утилизировать бытовые отходы в космосе
Now, sanitary wastes from the space station are packed into a hermetically sealed container which, later burns in the Earth’s atmosphere. This method is not suitable for long space flights. Siberian biophysicists have decided that sanitary wastes of the crew must be recycled using the method of wet burning and then they can be used as a nutritious medium for the space greenhouse.

«First, a human consumes food which was produced in the system. Then, his bio-wastes are put into the reactor of wet burning and covered with 33% hydrogen peroxide. Alternating current is supplied which activates the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into active radicals  influencing  the decomposition of organic matter», says Egor Morozov, laboratory assistant of the Laboratory of Controlled biosynthesis of phototrophs at the Institute of Biophysics, SB RAS.

Essentially, the same occurs in a compost heap in gardening, only the process goes hundreds of times faster, which allows transforming almost any organic substances into fertilizers. «It is possible to recycle various organic wastes which appear in life support systems. They include human bio-wastes, plant inedible biomass, sanitary wastes, wastes of fabric, soapy water. We deal with fish wastes which are considered to be sources of animal protein in such systems.», explained Sergei Trifonov, senior research associate of the Institute of Biophysics SB RAS.

The research is supported by the Russian Science Foundation, the new method will be indispensable in long space flights and colonizing other planets. Moreover, the Institute has great experience in the development of life support systems.The complex BIOS -3 was built at the beginning of the  70-ties and it fully simulates a Martian base. In the very first experiment in1977 two bionauts lived in this complex as long as 4 months; being fully isolated from the world, they obtained oxygen and water absolutely autonomously.  

The final part of the experiment is most likely to be carried out here. It is planned that after the detailed laboratory data tests bionauts will spend here several months using only their own resources. After this experiment, the technology will be used in space.

Source: Vesti. Krasnoyarsk.