Given the per-mass costs and technological challenges associated with hardware sent to space, long-term crewed missions would greatly benefit from regenerative life-support systems: systems, in short, which can produce food, water, oxygen, biomaterials and other resources from mission waste.
ESA’s MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) project was initiated in 1989 to generate a knowledge base in this area. The envisioned technologies, inspired by a lake ecosystem, are organized as a circular assembly of processes (enabled, e.g., by bioreactor, higher plant, and filtration compartments). Over the more than 30 years of the project’s activity, its actors have followed a highly progressive approach to characterize, model, and control that loop. Various elements have been developed and tested extensively on the ground and in flight. Beside laying the foundation for a system that could support long-term, crewed missions in space, this undertaking has also led to sustainable technologies with terrestrial applications, uncovering synergies in the development of both and room for further research.
The 7th edition of the biyearly MELiSSA Conference
will take place on November 8th–10th, 2022 in Toulouse (France); virtual attendance is also possible. Its scope is circular economy, for both space and Earth. The conference has a broad focus, and relevant topics include: air revitalization, CO2 valorization, waste recycling, life-support systems, food production and preparation, biomaterials, modelling and control, and the societal impacts of the field. Further information can be found on the dedicated website: https://melissaconference.org/
This Research Topic aims at gathering contributions from conference participants, around the topics discussed. Given the expected diversity of topics and approaches, all manuscript types
accepted by Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences will be considered; Original Research articles, however, are particularly sought after.