Technology

Water Management in the International ​Space Station

International space station

In the International ​Space Station (ISS), ​water is in ​short supply, ​so National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has ​developed an ​innovative way ​to filter wastewater on the ISS using ​chemical and ​distillation ​processes. This ​lets it turn ​liquid from the ​air, sweat and ​even urine into ​drinkable water. ​

 
International space station

 
The ​International ​Space Station ​has been ​continuously ​occupied by ​humans since ​2000. In fact, ​since 2008, ​more than 22,​500 pounds of ​water have been ​recycled from ​urine alone on ​the ISS – ​something that ​would have cost ​more than $225m ​(£160m)​ to launch and ​deliver to the ​station from ​Earth .

 
“Most people ​are horrified ​when they see ​what we drink!” ​says Ms Coleman.​ “But the ​filtered water ​up there just ​tastes ​beautiful, it ​really is ​delicious.” ​

 
NASA has ​since licensed ​the technology ​to companies on ​Earth, which ​have created ​portable ​filters for use ​in places where ​fresh drinking ​water is scarce.​ Filters ​produced by US ​firm Water ​Security ​Corporation, ​for example, ​have been ​installed in ​villages across ​Mexico and Iraq,​ allowing ​residents to ​purify water ​from contaminated ​sources. ​

 
“The ​inspiration to ​use this ​technology ​in ​developing ​countries was ​directly ​related to what ​was required ​for it to be ​successful in ​space,” says ​Ken Kearney, ​vice president ​of sales and ​marketing. ​

 
“It is ​incredibly ​reliable and ​requires no ​skilled ​maintenance. It ​can be deployed ​in regions ​where there is ​little or no ​electricity, ​using only ​gravity ​pressure to ​push water ​through the ​system.” ​

 
NASA is also ​funding ​research into ​whether human ​faeces can be ​recycled into ​food on long ​space missions -​ although it ​seems unlikely ​that such an ​extreme ​solution would ​catch on back ​on Earth. ​

 
Source: BBC

 

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