Robot Helper Design Challenge
Holy Cross College: Mr. Norbert
GROUP MEMBERS: Phillip, Keshtav, Matthew,
Mark and Anand (group leader)
TOPIC: What can the robots do for the astronauts on the ISS
On the ISS, due to the high cost of continually sending
cylinders of oxygen to the spacecraft, the oxygen is recycled over and
over. I am currently working on an attachment to my robot that would aid
in this task. The following are my ideas on how the attachment would work.
CO2 is trapped by a regenerable molecular sieve and is desorbed
by opening a vacuum compartment in the robot. From the compartment, the
co2 is taken to another section. In there, the co2 is heated at high temperatures
with hydrogen gas and a catalyst until it is reduced into O2 and solid
carbon (we use the Bosch reactor). This compartment is made like a thermos
flask as in heat cannot be lost from it by radiation, convection or by
conduction. The oxygen is then reemitted into the direct atmosphere and
the solid carbon vented out into space. This device in the robot may only
be activated when the spectrometers recognize that over 3% of the air
on the ISS is carbon dioxide. This may indicate some malfunction in the
Environment Control Life Support System. This device to be installed in
the robot maybe only used as a precautionary mechanism, but it can also
ensure the survival of the crewmembers in the occurr! ence of the malfunction
of any of the oxygen revitalizing apparatus. I believe that human life
is most precious, and all necessary precautions should be taken to ensure
the sustenance of the astronauts' lives on the ISS.
The spectrometers to be used would be slightly modified.
They would be programmed to, when carbon dioxide levels reach too high,
≥switch on≈ the Bosch reactor, to get rid of some of the CO2.
If the volume that the air on the ISS occupies is, lets say, 3,000,000cm3.
If the robot takes in 30 cm3 to be analyzed with the spectrometer, it
would be programmed such that if 0.9 cm of the air processed was CO2,
the reactor should be turned on. If up to 6cm3 of CO2 is collected in
one inspection, an alarm would go off in the robot that would alert the
astronauts what is happening. This may be some indication as to the failure
of the Environment Control Life Support System. !
The robot can also be used as a mean of waste disposal and
a way of making energy. Pieces of feces and other dead organic matter
can be placed in a compartment of the robot that contains bacteria. These
bacteria would be contained in a fortified containment unit so that there
is no possibility of it escaping and possibly causing an epidemic on the
ISS. The only way into and out of the bacteria filled compartment would
be the pipes that bring the feces and those that take away the methane.
The methane can be converted into electricity and this electricity can
in turn be used to provide the heat that is needed in the Bosch reactor.
The robot will provide visual aid in and out of the ISS
via the cameras and infrared scanners to be placed on its head and other
deliberately planned sites. The cameras would be able to rotate 360 degrees
on its axis thus providing full coverage of its surrounding environment.
The cameras on the robot will be used to tape experiments done outside
of the ISS, as the robot itself would be able to comfortably maneuver
in the environment outside. The infrared scanners can be used to detect
heat signatures, this can be useful incase there is a leak in the ISS
and the air was escaping through the breech.
We have also designed an arm for the robot that would aid
in the repair of parts on the ISS. The robot would also have cameras placed
strategically around its body, such placed that when the video feeds are
given to the astronauts, it would be such that they user can have a three
dimensional view of the robot's surroundings. The austronauts would have
complete control over the robotic arm and they would be able to assess
the situation by using the cameras and then use whatever tools that the
robot has at its disposal to ammend the problem.
We have yet to design a device that would monitor the pressure
of the air. We do, however, know that if the air pressure drops, our
robot will be equipped to provide the amt of air necessay to ensure a
constant pressure. Also, we need to formulate something would would keep
a constant temperature, as for a mixed mass of gas held at constant volume,
the pressure it exerts will be preportional to its temp. We were not able
to find the dimensions of the robot as not enough time was alotted to
us to do so, and guessing dimensions would have been pointless. With out
necessary dimensions, drawings would have been useless, thus the reason
that they were omitted.