FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

 TORPOR INDUCING TRANSFER HABITAT FOR HUMAN STASIS TO MARS

 

Questions on the Concept Overview Presentation

The bar chart on slide #22 shows dosage rates for TPN-based nutrition only. For a fully-active person, this is about 0.7 kg/day of the aqueous dextrose/amino acid/lipid solution. By comparison, the typical mass allocation with traditional solid/partially-hydrated food used by astronauts, based on spaceflight experience and the ISS, is over 2 kg/day.

For our baseline habitat, we used the “resting-level” TPN dosage rate (0.55 kg/day) to determine our food stores. This is a conservative approach since we did not take any further reductions for the Torpor-state. This handles our contingency case if the crew were to awake and remain in a conscious state.

So, we don’t think you are missing anything here, just using the wrong basis number for comparison!

Yes, the baseline architecture calls for robotic, on-orbit assembly. Note though either way, between the crew transfer vehicle (e.g. Orion), the habitat, the pressurized docking node, and the Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), there is still a lot of habitable volume available.

For our baseline habitat, the consumables for both the transit phases as well as the contingency stores are based on the required TPN dosage for a resting state. We did not take further reductions to account for the lower metabolic state associated with cooling. Thus, the habitat is designed for the off-nominal situation of a conscious crew.

See response P.1 for additional, related information on this subject.

The 85-ton IMLEO mass savings is in comparison to the baseline NTR-powered DRA 5.0 architecture. This is a Conjunction-class (180-day out, 500-day surface stay, 180-day return), round trip mission to Mars with a crew complement of 6.

We think a catastrophic system failure is unlikely since we have a number of redundant systems. The torpor-specific hardware consists of fairly simple systems and would all fail benignly. For example, a failure with the thermal control cooling system would merely cause the crew to awake from stasis due to the warming. In the event of a shut down with the TPN distribution system, the crew member(s) would be awoken to correct it. They could actually survive for 3-4 days without hydration or TPN injection, so plenty of time to correct any issue and/or awaken crew.

The non-torpor hardware (e.g. ECLSS, power, etc.) is identical to NASA’s planned system designs and have their own margins and redundancies.

For a major external event like a meteor impact, we are considering emergency-wake procedures for the crew. The best rewarming process for TH patients is an ongoing area of research. Generally, a slower process that is on the order of a few hours is preferred. But, this dataset is based on patients that have experienced some traumatic injury. A combination of approaches like cessation of the cooling, active warming, and injection of adenosine, for example, could permit acceleration of this process.

Alternatively, we have evaluated an operational protocol that would have at least one crew member awake at all times. The remaining crew members would be on 14-day torpor cycles. For this case, the impact to our baseline habitat mass is minimal to support this approach.

There are many groups of medical patients, including preterm infants, coma patients, and cancer patients that undergo long periods of TPN use as their only source of nutrition. As a result, doctors have long had concerns over the effects of TPN and its long term affect on the human digestive system. Thirteen different studies have been conducted on over 400 infants and children between the ages approximately 4 months to 17 years old, and almost 100 healthy adults control subjects to identify complications such as gastrointestinal bacterial overgrowth and sepsis, impaired immune functions, overall mortality including bowel or stomach perforation, intestinal villous atrophy, and the effects of TPN on gut mobility. Based on this literature there is no evidence suggesting that TPN promotes bacterial overgrowth, impairs neutrophil functions, inhibits blood’s bactericidal effect, causes villous atrophy, or increases the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications. The hypothesis of a negative effect of TPN, while commonly cited by many doctors, was also unproven in these studies.

The most common complication that can occur in adults from prolonged TPN use is a complication after returning to normal food called “refeeding syndrome”. “Refeeding syndrome” is a complication in patients that have gone without food for a long period time (usually greater than 5 days). When food is reintroduced to the patient they can have rapid disturbances in their electrolyte levels, causing complications with their body chemistry. This is a rare complication with TPN and can be easily prevented with the proper re-introduction of oral food and the proper monitoring and correction of the person’s electrolytes.

The NASA DRA 5.0 architecture design does not include a dedicated storm shelter or any parasitic radiation protection shielding for the crew. To enable a direct comparison of the torpor-system, we have made similar assumptions with our baseline design.

However, with the significant mass savings we are obtaining, we have the system mass margin to now include additional shielding for the crew. Not only can we add additional shielding, we only have to protect a smaller volume inhabited by the crew. Thus, we can increase safety and wellness for the crew and still reduce the IMLEO for the architecture.

Yes. While DRA 5.0 baseline was a zero-G architecture, we have developed a habitat configuration that would easily permit inducing an artificial gravity field. While the radius of rotation in this habitat is fairly small, less than 3-meters, with the crew in an unconscious state we do not have to be concerned with the typical issues of uncomfortable gravity gradients or Coriolis effects. If we are going to have an active crew member, we would need a slightly more complex design that would have a larger radius.

Questions on the Concept Overview Presentation

The bar chart on slide #22 shows dosage rates for TPN-based nutrition only. For a fully-active person, this is about 0.7 kg/day of the aqueous dextrose/amino acid/lipid solution. By comparison, the typical mass allocation with traditional solid/partially-hydrated food used by astronauts, based on spaceflight experience and the ISS, is over 2 kg/day.

For our baseline habitat, we used the “resting-level” TPN dosage rate (0.55 kg/day) to determine our food stores. This is a conservative approach since we did not take any further reductions for the Torpor-state. This handles our contingency case if the crew were to awake and remain in a conscious state.

So, we don’t think you are missing anything here, just using the wrong basis number for comparison!

Yes, the baseline architecture calls for robotic, on-orbit assembly. Note though either way, between the crew transfer vehicle (e.g. Orion), the habitat, the pressurized docking node, and the Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), there is still a lot of habitable volume available.

For our baseline habitat, the consumables for both the transit phases as well as the contingency stores are based on the required TPN dosage for a resting state. We did not take further reductions to account for the lower metabolic state associated with cooling. Thus, the habitat is designed for the off-nominal situation of a conscious crew.

See response P.1 for additional, related information on this subject.

The 85-ton IMLEO mass savings is in comparison to the baseline NTR-powered DRA 5.0 architecture. This is a Conjunction-class (180-day out, 500-day surface stay, 180-day return), round trip mission to Mars with a crew complement of 6.

We think a catastrophic system failure is unlikely since we have a number of redundant systems. The torpor-specific hardware consists of fairly simple systems and would all fail benignly. For example, a failure with the thermal control cooling system would merely cause the crew to awake from stasis due to the warming. In the event of a shut down with the TPN distribution system, the crew member(s) would be awoken to correct it. They could actually survive for 3-4 days without hydration or TPN injection, so plenty of time to correct any issue and/or awaken crew.

The non-torpor hardware (e.g. ECLSS, power, etc.) is identical to NASA’s planned system designs and have their own margins and redundancies.

For a major external event like a meteor impact, we are considering emergency-wake procedures for the crew. The best rewarming process for TH patients is an ongoing area of research. Generally, a slower process that is on the order of a few hours is preferred. But, this dataset is based on patients that have experienced some traumatic injury. A combination of approaches like cessation of the cooling, active warming, and injection of adenosine, for example, could permit acceleration of this process.

Alternatively, we have evaluated an operational protocol that would have at least one crew member awake at all times. The remaining crew members would be on 14-day torpor cycles. For this case, the impact to our baseline habitat mass is minimal to support this approach.

There are many groups of medical patients, including preterm infants, coma patients, and cancer patients that undergo long periods of TPN use as their only source of nutrition. As a result, doctors have long had concerns over the effects of TPN and its long term affect on the human digestive system. Thirteen different studies have been conducted on over 400 infants and children between the ages approximately 4 months to 17 years old, and almost 100 healthy adults control subjects to identify complications such as gastrointestinal bacterial overgrowth and sepsis, impaired immune functions, overall mortality including bowel or stomach perforation, intestinal villous atrophy, and the effects of TPN on gut mobility. Based on this literature there is no evidence suggesting that TPN promotes bacterial overgrowth, impairs neutrophil functions, inhibits blood’s bactericidal effect, causes villous atrophy, or increases the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications. The hypothesis of a negative effect of TPN, while commonly cited by many doctors, was also unproven in these studies.

The most common complication that can occur in adults from prolonged TPN use is a complication after returning to normal food called “refeeding syndrome”. “Refeeding syndrome” is a complication in patients that have gone without food for a long period time (usually greater than 5 days). When food is reintroduced to the patient they can have rapid disturbances in their electrolyte levels, causing complications with their body chemistry. This is a rare complication with TPN and can be easily prevented with the proper re-introduction of oral food and the proper monitoring and correction of the person’s electrolytes.

The NASA DRA 5.0 architecture design does not include a dedicated storm shelter or any parasitic radiation protection shielding for the crew. To enable a direct comparison of the torpor-system, we have made similar assumptions with our baseline design.

However, with the significant mass savings we are obtaining, we have the system mass margin to now include additional shielding for the crew. Not only can we add additional shielding, we only have to protect a smaller volume inhabited by the crew. Thus, we can increase safety and wellness for the crew and still reduce the IMLEO for the architecture.

Yes. While DRA 5.0 baseline was a zero-G architecture, we have developed a habitat configuration that would easily permit inducing an artificial gravity field. While the radius of rotation in this habitat is fairly small, less than 3-meters, with the crew in an unconscious state we do not have to be concerned with the typical issues of uncomfortable gravity gradients or Coriolis effects. If we are going to have an active crew member, we would need a slightly more complex design that would have a larger radius.

Questions on the Concept Overview Presentation

The bar chart on slide #22 shows dosage rates for TPN-based nutrition only. For a fully-active person, this is about 0.7 kg/day of the aqueous dextrose/amino acid/lipid solution. By comparison, the typical mass allocation with traditional solid/partially-hydrated food used by astronauts, based on spaceflight experience and the ISS, is over 2 kg/day.

For our baseline habitat, we used the “resting-level” TPN dosage rate (0.55 kg/day) to determine our food stores. This is a conservative approach since we did not take any further reductions for the Torpor-state. This handles our contingency case if the crew were to awake and remain in a conscious state.

So, we don’t think you are missing anything here, just using the wrong basis number for comparison!

Yes, the baseline architecture calls for robotic, on-orbit assembly. Note though either way, between the crew transfer vehicle (e.g. Orion), the habitat, the pressurized docking node, and the Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), there is still a lot of habitable volume available.

For our baseline habitat, the consumables for both the transit phases as well as the contingency stores are based on the required TPN dosage for a resting state. We did not take further reductions to account for the lower metabolic state associated with cooling. Thus, the habitat is designed for the off-nominal situation of a conscious crew.

See response P.1 for additional, related information on this subject.

The 85-ton IMLEO mass savings is in comparison to the baseline NTR-powered DRA 5.0 architecture. This is a Conjunction-class (180-day out, 500-day surface stay, 180-day return), round trip mission to Mars with a crew complement of 6.

We think a catastrophic system failure is unlikely since we have a number of redundant systems. The torpor-specific hardware consists of fairly simple systems and would all fail benignly. For example, a failure with the thermal control cooling system would merely cause the crew to awake from stasis due to the warming. In the event of a shut down with the TPN distribution system, the crew member(s) would be awoken to correct it. They could actually survive for 3-4 days without hydration or TPN injection, so plenty of time to correct any issue and/or awaken crew.

The non-torpor hardware (e.g. ECLSS, power, etc.) is identical to NASA’s planned system designs and have their own margins and redundancies.

For a major external event like a meteor impact, we are considering emergency-wake procedures for the crew. The best rewarming process for TH patients is an ongoing area of research. Generally, a slower process that is on the order of a few hours is preferred. But, this dataset is based on patients that have experienced some traumatic injury. A combination of approaches like cessation of the cooling, active warming, and injection of adenosine, for example, could permit acceleration of this process.

Alternatively, we have evaluated an operational protocol that would have at least one crew member awake at all times. The remaining crew members would be on 14-day torpor cycles. For this case, the impact to our baseline habitat mass is minimal to support this approach.

There are many groups of medical patients, including preterm infants, coma patients, and cancer patients that undergo long periods of TPN use as their only source of nutrition. As a result, doctors have long had concerns over the effects of TPN and its long term affect on the human digestive system. Thirteen different studies have been conducted on over 400 infants and children between the ages approximately 4 months to 17 years old, and almost 100 healthy adults control subjects to identify complications such as gastrointestinal bacterial overgrowth and sepsis, impaired immune functions, overall mortality including bowel or stomach perforation, intestinal villous atrophy, and the effects of TPN on gut mobility. Based on this literature there is no evidence suggesting that TPN promotes bacterial overgrowth, impairs neutrophil functions, inhibits blood’s bactericidal effect, causes villous atrophy, or increases the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications. The hypothesis of a negative effect of TPN, while commonly cited by many doctors, was also unproven in these studies.

The most common complication that can occur in adults from prolonged TPN use is a complication after returning to normal food called “refeeding syndrome”. “Refeeding syndrome” is a complication in patients that have gone without food for a long period time (usually greater than 5 days). When food is reintroduced to the patient they can have rapid disturbances in their electrolyte levels, causing complications with their body chemistry. This is a rare complication with TPN and can be easily prevented with the proper re-introduction of oral food and the proper monitoring and correction of the person’s electrolytes.

The NASA DRA 5.0 architecture design does not include a dedicated storm shelter or any parasitic radiation protection shielding for the crew. To enable a direct comparison of the torpor-system, we have made similar assumptions with our baseline design.

However, with the significant mass savings we are obtaining, we have the system mass margin to now include additional shielding for the crew. Not only can we add additional shielding, we only have to protect a smaller volume inhabited by the crew. Thus, we can increase safety and wellness for the crew and still reduce the IMLEO for the architecture.

Yes. While DRA 5.0 baseline was a zero-G architecture, we have developed a habitat configuration that would easily permit inducing an artificial gravity field. While the radius of rotation in this habitat is fairly small, less than 3-meters, with the crew in an unconscious state we do not have to be concerned with the typical issues of uncomfortable gravity gradients or Coriolis effects. If we are going to have an active crew member, we would need a slightly more complex design that would have a larger radius.

Questions on the Concept Overview Presentation

The bar chart on slide #22 shows dosage rates for TPN-based nutrition only. For a fully-active person, this is about 0.7 kg/day of the aqueous dextrose/amino acid/lipid solution. By comparison, the typical mass allocation with traditional solid/partially-hydrated food used by astronauts, based on spaceflight experience and the ISS, is over 2 kg/day.

For our baseline habitat, we used the “resting-level” TPN dosage rate (0.55 kg/day) to determine our food stores. This is a conservative approach since we did not take any further reductions for the Torpor-state. This handles our contingency case if the crew were to awake and remain in a conscious state.

So, we don’t think you are missing anything here, just using the wrong basis number for comparison!

Yes, the baseline architecture calls for robotic, on-orbit assembly. Note though either way, between the crew transfer vehicle (e.g. Orion), the habitat, the pressurized docking node, and the Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), there is still a lot of habitable volume available.

For our baseline habitat, the consumables for both the transit phases as well as the contingency stores are based on the required TPN dosage for a resting state. We did not take further reductions to account for the lower metabolic state associated with cooling. Thus, the habitat is designed for the off-nominal situation of a conscious crew.

See response P.1 for additional, related information on this subject.

The 85-ton IMLEO mass savings is in comparison to the baseline NTR-powered DRA 5.0 architecture. This is a Conjunction-class (180-day out, 500-day surface stay, 180-day return), round trip mission to Mars with a crew complement of 6.

We think a catastrophic system failure is unlikely since we have a number of redundant systems. The torpor-specific hardware consists of fairly simple systems and would all fail benignly. For example, a failure with the thermal control cooling system would merely cause the crew to awake from stasis due to the warming. In the event of a shut down with the TPN distribution system, the crew member(s) would be awoken to correct it. They could actually survive for 3-4 days without hydration or TPN injection, so plenty of time to correct any issue and/or awaken crew.

The non-torpor hardware (e.g. ECLSS, power, etc.) is identical to NASA’s planned system designs and have their own margins and redundancies.

For a major external event like a meteor impact, we are considering emergency-wake procedures for the crew. The best rewarming process for TH patients is an ongoing area of research. Generally, a slower process that is on the order of a few hours is preferred. But, this dataset is based on patients that have experienced some traumatic injury. A combination of approaches like cessation of the cooling, active warming, and injection of adenosine, for example, could permit acceleration of this process.

Alternatively, we have evaluated an operational protocol that would have at least one crew member awake at all times. The remaining crew members would be on 14-day torpor cycles. For this case, the impact to our baseline habitat mass is minimal to support this approach.

There are many groups of medical patients, including preterm infants, coma patients, and cancer patients that undergo long periods of TPN use as their only source of nutrition. As a result, doctors have long had concerns over the effects of TPN and its long term affect on the human digestive system. Thirteen different studies have been conducted on over 400 infants and children between the ages approximately 4 months to 17 years old, and almost 100 healthy adults control subjects to identify complications such as gastrointestinal bacterial overgrowth and sepsis, impaired immune functions, overall mortality including bowel or stomach perforation, intestinal villous atrophy, and the effects of TPN on gut mobility. Based on this literature there is no evidence suggesting that TPN promotes bacterial overgrowth, impairs neutrophil functions, inhibits blood’s bactericidal effect, causes villous atrophy, or increases the risk of death due to gastrointestinal complications. The hypothesis of a negative effect of TPN, while commonly cited by many doctors, was also unproven in these studies.

The most common complication that can occur in adults from prolonged TPN use is a complication after returning to normal food called “refeeding syndrome”. “Refeeding syndrome” is a complication in patients that have gone without food for a long period time (usually greater than 5 days). When food is reintroduced to the patient they can have rapid disturbances in their electrolyte levels, causing complications with their body chemistry. This is a rare complication with TPN and can be easily prevented with the proper re-introduction of oral food and the proper monitoring and correction of the person’s electrolytes.

The NASA DRA 5.0 architecture design does not include a dedicated storm shelter or any parasitic radiation protection shielding for the crew. To enable a direct comparison of the torpor-system, we have made similar assumptions with our baseline design.

However, with the significant mass savings we are obtaining, we have the system mass margin to now include additional shielding for the crew. Not only can we add additional shielding, we only have to protect a smaller volume inhabited by the crew. Thus, we can increase safety and wellness for the crew and still reduce the IMLEO for the architecture.

Yes. While DRA 5.0 baseline was a zero-G architecture, we have developed a habitat configuration that would easily permit inducing an artificial gravity field. While the radius of rotation in this habitat is fairly small, less than 3-meters, with the crew in an unconscious state we do not have to be concerned with the typical issues of uncomfortable gravity gradients or Coriolis effects. If we are going to have an active crew member, we would need a slightly more complex design that would have a larger radius.

 

Please submit any additional questions to: spacetorpor@sei.aero

Thank you!