Composting on Mars or the Moon: I. Comparative evaluation of process design alternatives.

M. S. Finstein, P. F. Strom, J. A. Hogan, R. M. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


As a candidate technology for treating solid wastes and recovering resources in bioregenerative Advanced Life Support, composting potentially offers such advantages as compactness, low mass, near ambient reactor temperatures and pressures, reliability, flexibility, simplicity, and forgiveness of operational error or neglect. Importantly, the interactions among the physical, chemical, and biological factors that govern composting system behavior are well understood. This article comparatively evaluates five Generic Systems that describe the basic alternatives to composting facility design and control. These are: 1) passive aeration; 2) passive aeration abetted by mechanical agitation; 3) forced aeration--O2 feedback control; 4) forced aeration--temperature feedback control; 5) forced aeration--integrated O2 and temperature feedback control. Each of the five has a distinctive pattern of behavior and process performance characteristics. Only Systems 4 and 5 are judged to be viable candidates for ALS on alien worlds, though which is better suited in this application is yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalLife support & biosphere science : international journal of earth space
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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