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Edward Balaban Participates in Antarctic Expedition Organized By The 2041 Foundation To Test NASA Technologies
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Edward Balaban Participates in Antarctic Expedition Organized By The 2041 Foundation To Test NASA Technologies

In March 2016, Edward Balaban took part in an Antarctic expedition organized by the 2041 Foundation to initiate testing of NASA-developed technologies in Antarctic conditions. Technologies tested during the expedition included the Personal Water Reclamation System (PWRS), developed in Code S, and a new prototype photovoltaic panel developed through a collaborative effort between NASA Glenn Research Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, MicroLink Devices, Inc., and NASA Ames. PWRS is a passive water reclamation system based on forward osmosis that may, in the future, be integrated into astronaut spacesuits, while also being targeted for use in emergency situations on Earth. The photovoltaic panels tested during the expedition represent a new generation of high-efficiency devices based on the Epitaxial Lift-Off (ELO) technology. Cells built with ELO technology can be encased in thin plastic sheets (as was done for the panels used in the tests), which are robust, flexible, lightweight, and waterproof.

BACKGROUND: Intermediate-term goals of the NASA/2041 collaboration include testing of NASA-developed life support, energy generation, diagnostic, prognostic, and planning/scheduling technologies on follow-on expeditions in conditions resembling extended manned traverses (of up to several hundred miles) on the Moon and Mars. Longer-term goals also include testing of robotic technologies and conducting astrobiology experiments at Antarctic sites analogous to the environments of the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. In order to bring the above plans to fruition, a Space Act Agreement between NASA Ames and the 2041 Foundation is currently being developed.

The 2041 Foundation was established by polar explorer, environmental leader, and public speaker Robert Swan, OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of Antarctica through the promotion of renewable energy and sustainable technologies to combat the effects of climate change. It is also committed to ensuring that the current provisions in the Antarctic treaty, prohibiting mining and mineral exploration on the continent until year 2041, are renewed.

TEAM: Steven F. Zornetzer (ARC, Associate Center Director, Research and Technology, Code D), Jacob Cohen (ARC, Chief Scientist, Code D), Robert Swan (Chairman, 2041 Foundation), Michael T. Flynn (ARC, Code SCB), Jurek Parodi (ARC, Science & Technology Corp., Code SCB), Jaione Romero Mangado (ARC, Science & Technology Corp., Code SCB), Rao Tatavarti (MicroLink Devices, Inc.), Keyvan Vasefi (GoalZero Corporation), Norm Kranz (GoalZero Corporation), Phillip Jenkins (Naval Research Laboratory), David M. Wilt (Air Force Research Laboratory), Michael F. Piszczor (GRC), and Edward Balaban (ARC, Code TI)

POINT OF CONTACT: Edward Balaban, edward.balaban@nasa.gov

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