The following resources are by no means a fully in-depth study of research into life support and closed ecosystems. Rather, as the SIMOC team conducted its research it moved across a broad range of publications, diving deeper into those more relevant to our particular needs. As such, we offer the following as a means to provide you with a similar introduction to some areas, and a greater depth in others. If new to this field of study, the titles, subject matter, and authors are provided here to get you moving in the right direction.

If you spot a gap in our literature review, or would like to contribute to this growing repository, feel free to contact us.


NASA (general)

The Baseline Values and Assumptions Document (BVAD) provides analysts, modelers, and other life support researchers with a common set of values and assumptions which can be used as a baseline in their studies. This baseline, in turn, provides a common point of origin from which many studies in the community may depart, making research results easier to compare and providing researchers with reasonable values to assume for areas outside their experience. This document identifies many specific physical quantities that define life support systems, serving as a general reference for spacecraft life support system technology developers. [source]

Cite: Anderson, Molly S., Michael K. Ewert, and John F. Keener. “Life support baseline values and assumptions document.” (2018).

NASA Bioinformatics Data Book
While not directly related to life support systems or ECLSS models, this is a fascinating collection of data on human performance in a dynamics range of environments, including studies in Barometric pressure, atmosphere, temperature; Sustained linear acceleration, rotary acceleration; Impact, vibration, weightlessness; Ionizing radiation, toxicology; Respiratory system, the vestibular system, vision, auditory system, noise and blast; Human control capabilities, atmosphere control, work, heat, and oxygen cost; Combined environmental stresses, aerospace vehicle water-waste management. []

Cite: Parker Jr, James F., and Vita R. West. Bioastronautics Data Book. BIOTECHNOLOGY INC FALLS CHURCH VA, 1972.

NASA Human Integration Design Handbook 2014
The Human Integration Design Handbook (HIDH) provides guidance for the crew health, habitability, environment, and human factors design of all NASA human space flight programs and projects. [source]

Cite: Liskowsky, D. R., and W. W. Seitz. “Human integration design handbook.” Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (2010): 657-671.

Human Integration Design Processes 2014
The purpose of the Human Integration Design Processes (HIDP) document is to provide human-systems integration design processes, including methodologies and best practices that NASA has used to meet human systems and human rating requirements for developing crewed spacecraft. HIDP content is framed around human-centered design methodologies and processes in support of human-system integration requirements and human rating. [source]

Cite: Boyer, Jennifer. “Human Integration Design Processes (HIDP).” (2014).

Modified energy cascade model adapted for a multicrop Lunar greenhouse prototype
Models are required to accurately predict mass and energy balances in a bioregenerative life support system. A modified energy cascade model was used to predict outputs of a multi-crop (tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce and strawberries) Lunar greenhouse prototype. The model performance was evaluated against measured data obtained from several system closure experiments. The model predictions corresponded well to those obtained from experimental measurements … [PDF]

Cite: Boscheri, G., M. Kacira, L. Patterson, G. Giacomelli, P. Sadler, R. Furfaro, C. Lobascio, M. Lamantea, and L. Grizzaffi. “Modified energy cascade model adapted for a multicrop Lunar greenhouse prototype.” Advances in Space Research 50, no. 7 (2012): 941-951.

Agriculture for Space: People and Places Paving the Way
Agricultural systems for space have been discussed since the works of Tsiolkovsky in the early 20th century. Central to the concept is the use of photosynthetic organisms and light to generate oxygen and food. Research in the area started in 1950s and 60s through the works of Jack Myers and others, who studied algae for O2 production and CO2 removal for the US Air Force and NASA. Studies on algal production and … [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, Raymond M. “Agriculture for space: People and places paving the way.” Open Agriculture 2, no. 1 (2017): 14-32.

Update on NASA Life Support Technology
Logistics Reduction and Repurposing (LRR) utilizes a cradle-to-grave approach to reduce total logistic mass. Six technologies being developed … a slide deck by Ray Wheeler, NASA [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, Raymond M. “Update on NASA Life Support Technology.” (2014).

Growing Food for Space and Earth: NASA’s Contributions to Vertical Agriculture
Beginning in the 1980s with NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) Program and later the 1990s and early 2000s with the Advanced Life Support Project, NASA conducted extensive testing with crops in controlled environment conditions. One series of tests conducted at Kennedy Space Center used a large chamber with vertically stacked shelves to support hydroponic growing trays, with a bank of electric lamps above each shelf. This is essentially the same approach that has become popular for use in so-called vertical … [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, Raymond M. “Growing food for space and earth: NASA’s contributions to vertical agriculture.” (2015).

Plants for Human Life Support in Space: From Myers to Mars
Bioregenerative life support systems have been discussed since the writings of Tsiolkovsky in the early 20th century. Central to the concept is the use of photosynthetic organisms to regenerate air and food. Bioregenerative research expanded rapidly in the 1950s and 60s through the work of Jack Myers and colleagues, and focused largely on algal systems. Testing even included space flight experiments by Herb Ward in the 1960s, but bioregenerative research in the USA decreased soon after this. In contrast, the Russian … [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, Raymond M. “Plants for human life support in space: from Myers to Mars.” Gravitational and Space Research 23, no. 2 (2010).

Development of Bioregenerative Life Support for Longer Missions: When Can Plants Begin to Contribute to Atmospheric Management?
Through photosynthesis, plants can be used to generate oxygen and food for life support in human exploration of space. Initial contributions of plants to life support would likely occur through the production of supplemental, fresh foods. For plants to provide significant contributions to oxygen production, larger areas and significant lighting would be needed. [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, Raymond M. “Development of Bioregenerative Life Support for Longer Missions: When Can Plants Begin to Contribute to Atmospheric Management?.” (2015).



Bios-3: Siberian Experiments in Bioregenerative Life Support
Attempts to purify air and grow food for space exploration in a sealed environment began in 1972 … demonstrated the feasibility of sustaining human life inside a small, essentially closed ecological system. [PDF]

Cite: Salisbury, Frank B., Josef I. Gitelson, and Genry M. Lisovsky. “Bios-3: Siberian experiments in bioregenerative life support.” BioScience 47, no. 9 (1997): 575-585.


Biosphere 2

Overview and Design, Biospherics and Biosphere 2, mission one (1991–1993)
This paper outlines concepts, construction and operation of Biosphere 2, the large glass closed life facility in the mountains of southern Arizona, USA. Plans used concepts of systems ecology and biospherics from the early writings of V.I. Vernadsky, work of the Russian space program on closed ecological life support systems and other leading proponents of a total systems approach to ecology. Mission one was the first experimental closure of Biosphere 2 with eight crew members for 2 years, 1991 – 1993. [PDF]

Cite: Allen, John, and Mark Nelson. “Overview and design biospherics and biosphere 2, mission one (1991–1993).” Ecological Engineering 13, no. 1-4 (1999): 15-29.

Energy metabolism after 2 years of energy restriction: the Biosphere 2 experiment
An adaptive decrease in energy expenditure (EE) in response to 6 mo of severely restricted energy intake was shown in a classic semistarvation study—the Minnesota experiment. Our objective was to examine whether such adaptation also occurs in response to less severe but sustained energy restriction. [PDF]

Cite: Weyer, Christian, Roy L. Walford, Inge T. Harper, Mike Milner, Taber MacCallum, P. Antonio Tataranni, and Eric Ravussin. “Energy metabolism after 2 y of energy restriction: the biosphere 2 experiment.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72, no. 4 (2000): 946-953.

Biosphere 2 and Biodiversity: The Lessons Learned So Far
On 1 January 1996, Columbia University took over scientific management of Biosphere 2, a 3.15-acre closed ecosystem in Oracle, Arizona, containing soil, air, water, plants, and animals. Since then, the facility has been seeking suggestions for its future research mission from a broad range of scientists. In September … [PDF]

Cite: Cohen, Joel E., and David Tilman. “Biosphere 2 and Biodiversity–The Lessons So Far.” Science 274, no. 5290 (1996): 1150-1151.

The Real Message from Biosphere 2
Last September, eight gaunt but triumphant Biospherians emerged through the airlock doors of Biosphere 2 after two years under public scrutiny and sealed glass (Ailing & Nelson 1993). Their re-entry into Biosphere 1 (Earth) marked completion of the first in a century-long series of planned missions”, the stated objectives of which are to explore scientific frontiers in ecotechnology (for better husbandry of the planet’s resources and as a model for colonizing space) and in general to inspire the human spirit. [PDF]

Cite: Avise, John C. “The real message from Biosphere 2.” Conservation Biology 8, no. 2 (1994): 327-329.


Lunar Palace

Psychosocial interaction during a 105-day isolated mission in Lunar Palace 1
As they are the most important and critical group in space missions, the crewmembers’ emotions and interpersonal interactions have gained attention. The crewmembers are confined in an isolated environment, have limited communication with the outside world, and often undergo unpredictable risks, which may lead to the aggravation and acceleration of depression, displacement, and even interpersonal conflicts. [PDF]

Cite: Wu, Ruilin, and Ya Wang. “Psychosocial interaction during a 105-day isolated mission in Lunar Palace 1.” Acta Astronautica 113 (2015): 1-7.



MELiSSA: A Potential Experiment for a Precursor Mission to the Moon
MELISSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) has been conceived as a micro-organism based ecosystem … driving element is the recovering of edible biomass from waste, C02, and minerals with the use of sun light as energy source. In this publication, we focus our attention on the potential applications of MELISSA for a precursor mission to the Moon … [PDF]

Cite: Lasseur, Ch, Willy Verstraete, J. B. Gros, G. Dubertret, and F. Rogalla. “MELISSA: a potential experiment for a precursor mission to the Moon.” Advances in Space Research 18, no. 11 (1996): 111-117.



The NASA CELSS Program
The NASA Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) program was initiated in 1978 by the Life Sciences Division, Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA), with the premise that NASA’s goals would eventually include extended-duration missions with sizable crews requiring capabilities beyond the ability of conventional life support technology. [PDF]

Cite: Averner, Maurice M. “The NASA CELSS program.” (1990).

Proximate Composition of CELSS Crops Grown in NASA’s Biomass Production Chamber
Edible biomass from four crops of wheat (Triticum aestivurn L.). four crops of lettuce (Lactuca saliva L.), four crops of potato (Sofunum tuberosum L.), and three crops of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) All
grown in NASA’s CELSS Biomass Production Chamber were analyzed for proximate composition. Plants were grown using recirculating nutrient (hydroponic) film culture with pH and electrical conductivity automatically controlled. Temperature and humidity were controlled … [PDF]

Cite: Wheeler, R. M., C. L. Mackowiak, J. C. Sager, W. M. Knott, and W. L. Berry. “Proximate composition of CELSS crops grown in NASA’s biomass production chamber.” Advances in Space Research 18, no. 4-5 (1996): 43-47.



International Space Station Environmental Control and Life Support System
The Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) for the Space Station performs several functions … [PDF]

Cite: NASA Facts, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812

International Space Station, Technical Task Agreement Summary Report
This document provides a summary of work accomplished under Technical Task Agreements (TTA) by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) regarding the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) of the International Space Station (ISS) program. [PDF]

Cite: Ray, C. D., and B. H. Salyer. “International Space Station ECLSS Technical Task Agreement Summary Report.” (1999).

Designing For Human Presence in Space: An Introduction to Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS)
Written in the early 1990s, this document describes the process of designing environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) for habitats in space. Included in the document were tables (appendix I) that summarize the design features and methods of performing the various life support functions for all manned spacecraft of the US and the USSR through the time of publication. [PDF]

Cite: Wieland, Paul O. “Designing for human presence in space: an introduction to environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS).” (2005).

A Closed-Loop CO 2 and Humidity Recovery System for Deep Space Missions
Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) removal is a critical component of life support systems used in human spacecraft and the International Space Station. Long-duration missions into deep space and to Mars will require a CO 2 removal system with higher performance, higher reliability, and the ability to recover the CO 2 for recycling back into oxygen, rather than discarding it to space. Up until now, solid sorbents have been preferred due to their familiarity and the ease of management of solids in microgravity. However, … [PDF]



Isolation – NASA Experiments in Closed-Environment Living Advanced Human Life Support Enclosed System
Spectacular advancements in life on Earth can be made with the knowledge gained through research on long-term space flight. In order to achieve long-term space flight, however, there is much we need to determine. We began these chamber studies to develop technologies, methodologies, techniques, and the knowledge needed to make such flight possible. Before efficient long-term stays in space can occur, NASA must determine how to best solve the issues related to a closed living environment; these chambers studies were a test bed for such potential solutions. [PDF]

Cite: Lane, Helen Woods, Richard L. Sauer, and Daniel L. Feeback, eds. Isolation: NASA Experiments in Closed-environment Living: Advanced Human Life Support Enclosed System Final Report. Vol. 104. Amer Astronautical Society, 2002.

Test Phases and Major Findings
As NASA embarks on the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Mission it becomes imperative, for considerations of both safety and cost, to minimize consumables and increase the autonomy of the life support system. Utilizing advanced life support technologies provides this autonomy and increases productivity of the mission by reducing mass, power, and volume necessary for human support, thus permitting larger payloads for science and exploration. Two basic classes of life support systems must be developed … [PDF, Chapter 2.1 of the prior “Isolation” document]

Cite: Henninger, Donald L. “Test phases and major findings.” Isolation: NASA Experiments in Closed-Environment Living- Advanced Human Life Support Enclosed System Final Report 104 (2002): 35-49.

Human in the Loop Integrated Life Support Systems Ground Testing
Human exploration missions beyond low earth orbit will be long duration with abort scenarios of days to months. This necessitates provisioning the crew with all the things they will need to sustain themselves while carrying out mission objectives. Systems engineering and integration is critical to the point where extensive integrated testing of life support systems on the ground is required to identify and mitigate risks. Human-rated altitude chambers at the Johnson Space Center are … [PDF]

Cite: Henninger, Donald L., Jose A. Marmolejo, and Calvin H. Seaman. “Human in the Loop Integrated Life Support Systems Ground Testing.” (2012).

The Design and Testing of the LSSIF Advanced Thermal Control System
The Life Support Systems Integration Facility (LSSIF) provides a platform to design and evaluate advanced manned space systems at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) … This paper addresses the design of the TCS and the heat pump, along with the control scheme to fully test the heat pump. [PDF]

Cite: Henson, Robert A., and John R. Keller. “The Design and Testing of the LSSIF Advanced Thermal Control System.” (1995).

NASA’s Advanced Life Support Program
ASEN 5519: Space Experiment Design and Technologies, an Independent Study Project by Thomas R. Hatfield Fall, 1999 [PDF]