Clean (Spacecraft) Air

Marianne Dyson, August 2018

With no air in space, lungs empty like popped balloons. Blood boils, turning people into giant bruises. Eyes pop and eardrums burst. Yuck!

People must have air. We need it to breathe, and we need its pressure on us so air and liquids inside us don’t escape. We also need the right mix of gases to stay healthy and avoid fires in space.

Providing clean spacecraft air for a three-year round trip to Mars is quite a challenge, but one we are learning how to meet thanks to the experience gained on the International Space Station. To help others (especially you science fiction writers out there!) understand and appreciate that there is more to the life support system than worrying about the Klingons causing a hull breach, I