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98% of urine and sweat becomes drinkable water – T3N – Pioneers Digitalis

98% of urine and sweat becomes drinkable water – T3N – Pioneers Digitalis

98% of urine and sweat becomes drinkable water – T3N – Pioneers Digitalis

One of the basic filters of the system. (Image: NASA)

On NASA’s International Space Station (ISS), 98 percent of what astronauts sweat and pee becomes drinkable water again. This is a milestone in the technology of life support systems in space.

Last week, the US space agency NASA communicationthat it has reached a technical milestone that could one day play a key role in missions to the moon and beyond. It was able to configure the International Space Station’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) to recycle 98 percent of the water that astronauts “create” aboard the station.



Out of 100 liters of waste water, only two cannot be recycled

Part of ECLSS uses “advanced dehumidifiers” to capture the moisture that station crew exhale and sweat as they go about their daily tasks.

Another subsystem, the “Urine Processor Collection,” recovers water from astronauts’ urine using vacuum distillation. According to NASA, the distillation process produces water and a urine brine that still contains recoverable H₂O.

This system now results in a water recovery rate of 98 percent. To date, an impressive 93 to 94 percent of the water produced by astronauts has been reused on board.

“This is a very important step in the development of life support systems,” says NASA engineer Christopher Brown, adding: “Let’s say you collect 50 kilograms of water at the station. You lose a pound of that, and the other 98 percent keep working. Keeping it going is an achievement. big “.

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Like sewage treatment plants, only in space

“The treatment is basically like some terrestrial water treatment systems, just in microgravity,” said Jill Williamson, director of NASA’s ECLSS Water Subsystems. “The crew doesn’t drink urine, they drink water that’s been reclaimed, filtered and purified so it’s cleaner than what we drink here on Earth.”

Williamson said systems like ECLSS will be crucial as NASA conducts more missions in the extra orbit. She says, “The less water and oxygen we carry, the more scientific knowledge can be loaded onto the launch vehicle. Reliable and robust regenerative systems mean the crew doesn’t have to worry about it and can focus on the real purpose and can focus on their mission.”