Governor's School of Science and Technology PM
The International Space Station (ISS) needs a more efficient way to supply oxygen for astronauts. Currently, the space station relies heavily on shipments of oxygen from Earth. However, this system has many flaws as it requires the astronauts essentially to ration their air. For many labor intensive tasks, such as repairing equipment or exercising, oxygen conservation adds unnecessary complexity and constraints. Also astronauts have complained about headaches and fatigue during group activities, when they produced too much carbon dioxide in a limited space. The need for a system to produce breathable air is important also for future long-term space explorations. Green plants in a natural process could supply oxygen. However, this approach entails the astronauts to tend to the plants and risks introducing additional microbes to the ISS or other planets. Artificial photosynthesis, an oxygen-producing chemical process that replicates the natural photosynthesis of plants, can provide a better solution. Artificial photosynthesis has been demonstrated in laboratory settings using a variety of designs and several different catalysts. The challenge will be to select, design and build a container to house the system, and monitor the performance in microgravity.
The Governor's School of Science and Technology PM PowerPoint contains all the information about their project including a Functional Block Diagram, Storyboard and other information specific to their experiment.