Astronauts must be supplied with air, water and food whilst in space. In order to 'recycle' these vital resources over a long period of time and to make them available for several years, closed life support systems are needed. The DLR mission Eu:CROPIS (Euglena Combined Regenerative Organic Food Production in Space) is focussing on testing the long-term stability of a biological life support system for missions to the Moon or Mars. Using the C.R.O.P filter system developed by the DLR, artificial urine is turned into a nitrate solution, which can be used as fertilisation for tomato plants, for example. A second system based on algae is used to supply the overall system with oxygen and, where necessary, detoxify it.
Eu:CROPIS should demonstrate that such a closed life support system (CLSS) can be operated and reinitiated under various gravity conditions (Moon and Mars). Applications on Earth are heading towards:
Eu:CROPIS is therefore looking into two aspects of our origins and future: on the one hand, it is preparing new methods to allow for future exploratory missions, and on the other hand, it is investigating the experiments carried out directly on board.
DLR compact satellite
The Compact Satellite mission will provide the DLR with an independent platform for carrying out its own experiments in space conditions. Its flexible configuration can be adapted to a variety of user requirements. In this case, due to the need to simulate various gravitational levels, a rotating configuration will be chosen.