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Fraser
2004-Sep-10, 05:21 PM
SUMMARY: A generator that supplies oxygen to the International Space Station has broken down, and it could cause a delay for the upcoming crew transfer scheduled for next month. The Russian-built Elekton generator uses electrolysis to separate oxygen out of waste water, and without it, the two-man crew of the station will need to get their oxygen from the Progress cargo ship currently docked. They'll attempt repairs to the unit on Friday.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

lswinford
2004-Sep-10, 06:46 PM
I've heard that astronauts on the spacelab and also on ISS have had to deal with odors accumulating from food and flatuence, but I was surprised to see that their breathing air also came by way of spit and pee, which I take to be the "waste water" they spoke of. What I wonder about is when they uncork all that extra oxygen, where is the outgo--the CO2 heavy air? The pressure could probably stand to rise a bit but I would be afraid that extra pressure might pop a gasket somewhere and start a new air leak.

Someday, when they start some bioregeneration, an event like this means there will be more kelp and clams on the menu. Till then, well, I'm glad I'm not up there right now.

z4837
2004-Sep-11, 03:52 PM
good points there.

the containment of living things and keeping the evnironment clean ... what a mess to deal with.

as unfun as it is, i think robotics is the only way to get our animal eyes properly into space. avoid the peril and toil of keeping a biological being into orbit.

i'm sure the costs of the iss program could be contained and maintained by switching to remote control. move to robotics ! look at the successes of the spirit and opportunity missions; we need to get over the fact that some human has to be on the ship. once we are able to contain/control our body gasses and fluids, sure, let's trip out for a picnic :) why risk lives and spend unnecessary money ?

Tom2Mars
2004-Sep-11, 04:42 PM
Iswinford...A definite yes on the plants! Why does NASA keep putting off the inevitable?

And z4837, Welcome to the Forum!

as unfun as it is, i think robotics is the only way to get our animal eyes properly into space. avoid the peril and toil of keeping a biological being into orbit.

You know, you're right. As long as NASA isn't going to put up complete and comprehensive biological systems for us biological humans, we are just wasting time and money. :(

lswinford
2004-Sep-13, 09:29 PM
And I'm going to agree with both of you!

If we aren't going to be living in space, why send the living to space. But I also think we must make plans for humanity's next step, as that Russian writer, who's name I've forgotten, said that the earth was mankind's crib and we can't stay in the crib forever. Still, if we aren't getting out, I can at least throw out a few toys once in a while to see what the bigger room, house, and neighborhood is like.

One thing, I would prefer, as great as some of our probes have been, is if we had many more simpler (as in cheaper) probes. I would like to think of a few large satellites arrayed in orbit to receive data from numerous smaller probes. Sending more generic probes out by the dozen to various targets (planets, asteroids, the broader solar environment) could give more detailed data coverage. The law of large numbers makes the potential reliability of that data greater. The economies of scale by essentially mass-producing space probes might lower unit costs. A steady stream of on-going launches keeps the continuity of the system going (as opposed to what we did with the moon, we couldn't send people there again without investing in a whole new program over a whole new decade). In short, even if we are using unmanned probes, I'd prefer space science to be like a TV series instead of waiting on the next Bond or Star Wars sequel to come out.

eddie
2004-Sep-29, 09:24 AM
"The Russian-built Elekton generator uses electrolysis to separate oxygen out of waste water,..."

SO IF THIS IS TRUE THEN WHY OH WHY DO WE NOT USE THE SAME TECHNOLOGY TO SEPARATE HYDROGEN FROM WATER AS FUEL FOR AUTOMOBILES.

COMBUST HYDROGEN TO GIVE OFF WATER VAPOR.

WATER VAPOR IS MUCH BETTER THAT CO2.

IF THIS SYSTEM IS SAFE FOR SPACE STATION PEOPLE THEN IT IS SAFE IN A CAR.

20 GALLONS OF GASOLINE IS MORE DANGEROUS THAT A SMALL CYLINDAR OF HYROGEN.

AND YES WATER VAPOR IS SUPPOSED TO BE A WORSE GLOBAL WARMING GAS, BUT THE WATER VAPOR NEEDS MUCH TIME TO ACCUMULATE & IN THE MEAN TIME IT WILL RAIN MUCH NEEDED WATER ON A PLANET IN DROUGHT.

LIKE THE QUOTE SAYS YOU CAN USE "WASTE" WATER TO PRODUCE HYDROGEN & AFTER IT'S COMBUSTED INTO WATER VAPOR IT BECOMES CLEANED WATER.

Duane
2004-Sep-29, 10:32 PM
Eddie, please do us all a favour and stop yelling!

They do use the same technology to separate hydrogen from water. Hydrogen is already used to power engines, and its waste product is water.

Other than that, very interesting discussion. I surely agree with Iswinford, in that it would be great to throw out a whole bunch of small probes instead of placing all the eggs in one basic with a big one. Politically though, I think the big probes get the news coverage, and are seen as more glamourous and newsworthy. Who ever said that NASA was pratical?