CAMRAS Recycles Every Breath You Take

CAMRAS (Carbon-dioxide and Moisture Removal Amine Swing-bed) is a system intended to recycle and scrub air for astronauts on extended missions. In tests last month, volunteers were locked in a chamber serviced by the device prototype.

"Our goal for CAMRAS is to develop a simple, regenerative, lightweight device that will work for both the Orion crew capsule and the Altair lunar lander," said lead researcher Jeff Sweterlitsch.


(CAMRAS (Carbon-dioxide and Moisture Removal Amine Swing-bed))

The CAMRAS absorption beds are regenerated by the vacuum of space, and processing the carbon dioxide and moisture requires little energy. CAMRAS uses an organic compound known as amine that absorbs the carbon dioxide and water vapor from the cabin's atmosphere. The system then vents the two waste products overboard, and the vacuum of space regenerates the amine to work again.

Engineer (and science-fiction writer) George O. Smith thought about this problem; he decided to solve it the natural way on the Venus Equilateral Station (1942).

"What better purifying machine is there than a plot of grass?" shouted Channing. "... We breathe oxygen, exhale CO2. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen. An 'air plant' means just that. It is a specialized type of Martian sawgrass that uses chlorophyll... We've spent years getting that plant so it will grow just right. It got so good that the CO2 detectors weren't even needed...
(Read more about Martian sawgrass)

Via Exhaling For Exploration: Scientists Test Lunar Breathing System; thanks to Moira for submitting the tip on this item.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/10/2008)

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