Sustainable Systems

Our Sustainable Systems focus relies on our expertise in advanced technology development and systems engineering for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (Exploration Life Support) and sustainability projects that support the green government initiative to development greener, cleaner facilities.

This focal area leverages the strong synergy between terrestrial and space applications that make efficient use of environmental resources, such as in spacecraft closed loop life support systems. Read more about NASA's role in sustainable systems for planet Earth.


Sustainability Base


NASA Ames is getting ready to break ground on a revolutionary high performance building. This building will incorporate the latest green technologies and space technologies to create a one-of-a-kind demonstration and office building.

Green Building Plans



Exploration Life Support

Managed by the Bioengineering Branch, the Exploration Life Support projects at NASA Ames Research Center develop low-power, low-resource, low-volume, and low-mass systems that minimize or eliminate waste and maximize self-sufficiency. The team utilizes its expertise in systems engineering to address issues of sustainability, especially in the efficient use of resources in closed life support systems. These Efficient Use of Resources projects at NASA Ames have potential green synergies with Earth-based applications.


Air Revitalization

These projects focus on regenerable, low power carbon dioxide capture, separation, compression, and storage systems, as well as air contaminant removal systems.

Potential Synergies with Earth Applications: 1) Carbon dioxide conversion and sequestration technologies

Air Revitalization Equipment


Advanced Water Recovery Systems

These projects produce water processing systems that are extremely low power with regenerative wastewater-to-potable water processing, and systems that provide contingency water purification that are portable and require no power.

Potential Synergies with Earth Applications: 1) Advanced technologies for complete water recycling, 2) closing materials and food production loops, and 3) contribute to biofuels produced from algae and ligno-cellulose.

Water Recovery Module


Solid Waste Management

Projects in this area specialize in waste minimization and safening, and the conversion of waste to valuable products (e.g., water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, fuels, nutrients/soil, building materials, activated charcoal).

Potential Synergies with Earth Applications: 1) closing materials and food production loops and 2) contribute to biofuels produced from algae and ligno-cellulose.

Solid Waste Management hardware


Systems Analyses/Trade Studies - management of complex, large-scale systems

Potential Synergies with Earth Applications: 1) systems engineering for sustainable Earth systems

systems analysis diagram


Online Project Information System (OPIS) - collects/disseminates critical project and technology data required for integration of complex systems

Potential Synergies with Earth Applications: 1) systems engineering for sustainable Earth systems

OPIS website pic



Green Transportation

A revolution in the way people get around is critical to mitigating the effects of climate change. Transporting people and goods encompasses ~30% of the total energy usage in the US. NASA’s unique mission focusing in aeronautics and space exploration has enabled us to gain unparalleled expertise in a wide range of fields and technologies related to transportation, human factors design, and clean energy.


NASA Ames' capabilities and expertise in green transportation include:
Intelligent Systems and Software
Human Factors
Prognostics/Advanced Systems Health Management
Autonomous Systems and Robotics
Green Aviation (Fuels, propulsion and power systems, flight systems operations & management, airships, new small and large aircraft concepts)

Human Factors Research