ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects

Bioregenerative Environmental Control Project (CAB)

Advanced technologies for man’s life in space

The main objective of this project is the development of advanced technologies for man’s life in space. For this purpose a system is needed to regenerate wastes and to produce essential elements for man’s life. CAB’s objective is to define a closed "life support” system that uses various kinds of plants. A bioregenerative closed cycle system must contribute to the production of fresh plants, the production of oxygen and the removal of carbon dioxide—the products of human respiration—from the internal air through photosynthesis, to the purification of water through the process of transpiration, to the use of residues of the biomass, of the organic refuse of the processes and physiological wastes—after appropriate treatment—to the physiological well-being of the crew.

 

The development of space greenhouses is an element currently considered indispensable for long-term stay missions not only for making fresh food, but especially for space colonies that will have to be self-sufficient, even concerning the production of oxygen, water and waste removal. For example, 85% of the ISS’s supplies is oxygen and water.

 

The bioregenerative systems based on superior plants could contribute to solving these problems. The cultivation and bioregeneration systems planned could also allow for the development of production systems in extreme Earth environments such as the polar and desert areas. The technologies developed would have, finally, interesting returns for the management of organic wastes and waste water and therefore contribute to the reduction of environmental impact. A preliminary study phase of this project was begun in 2006. The preliminary phase was concluded in 2007. The beginning of the subsequent phases is scheduled for the end of 2008.