Since humans first set foot on the moon half a century ago, most of the focus has been on low-Earth orbit missions with few unmanned scientific explorations. The accelerated growth of Space industry has created a new focus towards Deep Space applications, especially ones related to habitation. Deep space mission requires new concepts and paradigms that are different from what is currently adopted by the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is constantly occupied by astronaut crew members, maintains an extensive supply of spare parts, and is supported by a large mission-control staff. Future deep space habitats will have none of these attributes.
NASA envisions developing resilient and autonomous Smart Deep Space Habitats (aka. SmartHabs) capable of sustaining a high level of Earth-Independence. SmartHabs must be capable of utilizing on-board telemetry data for self-awareness and self-sufficiency due to the increased distance, isolation, and uncrewed periods. Future Mars orbital and surface habitats may need to function for 1-3 years between crews, will have very limited on-board spares (with resupply gaps of up to 900 days), limited communications bandwidth and high latency.
This talk will highlight ongoing research at the HOME Institute. HOME, Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration, is a NASA Space Technology Space Institute charged with helping NASA design future deep space SmarHabs. In this talk, I focus on novel Industrial Engineering research applications and the profound impact of “Earth Independence” when developing modeling frameworks and algorithms for self-awareness and self-sufficiency for deep space SmartHabs.