Chemical engineering, catalysis and flow chemistry for human space exploration


School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Adelaide
Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources, The University of Adelaide

The expectation that humans might soon go to moon and in some time even to Mars, has inspired all kinds of science and engineering studies for support of deep space explorations; to enable a long-term presence of humans in spacecraft and space habitat. Figure 1. It is progressively dawn into awareness of academia and industry that such frontier-science studies can help to advance technology and improve life on Earth; and if it is alone for the value of a sustainability thinking with sharpened take.


Yet space offers more than this ‘vantage point’, a unique testing environment (‘microgravity’) and resources, Figure 1. Thousands of experiments have been undertaken at the International Space Station (ISS), to benefit from the microgravity and real-space environment. A number of space-related journals have arisen and space–subject matters become common in normal science and engineering journals.


At the forefront of the ISS studies, with relevance to chemical engineering and flow chemistry (microfluidics), are matters of biological and cell/tissue investigations as well as studies of new materials, composites and formulations (1) ...