Air Quality on the International Space Station
Presented by Dr. Marit Meyer, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
The International Space Station (ISS) gives a 6-member astronaut crew the ability to live and work in low Earth orbit. It is a unique indoor environment, which has served as both home and workplace to over 230 people since the year 2000. In this low gravity environment, smoke does not rise and cookie crumbs do not settle the way they do on Earth, causing aerosols to behave differently and pose unique hazards for crew members. In its existence, virtually the same volume of ISS air has been continuously conditioned and ‘revitalized,’ including the removal of particles by filtration. While gaseous constituents of ISS air are monitored meticulously, sparse data exists on indoor aerosols. The quantity and types of ISS airborne debris have been investigated in the recent Aerosol Sampling Experiment. Both active and passive samplers successfully collected aerosols in U.S. segments of the ISS. Results of the particle collection and implications for the air quality in future spacecraft will be presented.
Dr. Marit Meyer has been at Glenn Research Center since September 2010. Her research questions deal with aerosols with two main emphases: 1) Spacecraft fire safety, characterizing smoke particles and their transport in space, for the purpose of designing better smoke detectors, and 2) Indoor air quality in spacecraft cabins, determining the sources, sizes and quantities of particles in the air that astronauts breathe. Marit completed her PhD at Washington University in St. Louis after working in the defense industry for 8 years. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona.