Figures of Merit Analysis: How to get Biology Engineered for Exploration of Space
The NASA Artemis program is taking humans back to the Moon, with Mars missions on the horizon. Given the limited resources available for these expeditionary missions, it is crucial to evaluate the potential integration of new innovative solutions developed in recent decades into human spaceflight. The inclusion of a capability in human spaceflight is a multifaceted decision, considering both the performance of the capability and its associated resource requirements or "cost." The term "cost" (also known as figures of merit [FOM]) refers to mass, volume, time, and power resources that are required from the spacecraft or mission personnel to operate the capability effectively.
The provision of food and medications are crucial aspects of any long-duration, deep space human missions, and these systems need to be integrated with other critical vehicle systems and may even be a part of complex systems such as a regenerative life support approach that uses plants and microbes as part of the solution. As such, various technological approaches have been proposed in the recent past to fulfill the food system's requirements by including engineering biology innovations such as edible plants, supplemental nutrients, and pharmaceuticals. Many of these technology approaches have had significant investment by NASA and other funding agencies for development; however, there has been limited analysis of the FOM ‘costs’ associated with implementing these capabilities in space. Without such analysis there is little chance that solutions and associated technologies will be considered for future space travel.
In this solicitation, TRISH is seeking proposers with proof-of-concept engineering and synthetic biology solutions that can be used in long-duration, deep space missions that are ready to prepare the FOM. The work of awarded projects themselves will be to prepare the FOM.
Watch the pre-proposal webinar recording.
Interested in volunteering to be a reviewer? Sign up online.
Deadline: Feb. 12, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EST
As a federally funded institute, TRISH supports research projects led by investigators currently at U.S.-based institutions. However, to foster an environment for collaboration, TRISH encourages international investigators and organizations to connect by adding themselves to our Researchers Open to Collaboration document. There, you can find potential collaborators as well as add your name, institution and contact information for other potential collaborations with the wider space biomedical community.
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