Researchers and students from Delft University of Technology are engaged in the development of a spacecraft capable of supporting the life of a crew traveling through the space between the stars. They had to ask for help from ESA.
The DSTART team is engaged in exploring promising concepts to create a solid interstellar spacecraft, which is going to be built from an asteroid piece. The focus is on the biological and social factors associated with a long trip.
It is necessary to create a self-sustaining and developing space technology capable of remaining intact for many decades. Therefore, a regenerative life support system is being considered in cooperation with ESA and under the guidance of MELiSSA. The MELiSSA program includes 11 countries and is aimed at creating a system based on a natural aquatic ecosystem. This will effectively convert organic waste and carbon dioxide into oxygen, water, and food.
The pilot model conducts an airtight multisection loop with a “bioreactor” fed by light and oxygen-containing algae. This allows you to maintain life for the “crew” of rats for several months. This bioreactor was recently tested on the ISS.
The concept of MELiSSA offers basic autonomy to a starship. Next month, the DSTART team plans to present the first version of the MELiSSA computer model at a stellar level. Modeling allows you to test the stability of the system when entering deep space.