NASA Astronauts choose Distilled Water in Space
WaterSmart Trivia- Astronauts want pure water in space. Which water purification system does NASA use in space at the International Space Station?
Mother Nature, here on planet earth, has been using the best water purification method in the universe. What method of water filtration creates 99% pure, clean water? The Hydrolic Cycle or The Water Cycle is natures process of purifying by:
1. Evaporation. When water evaporates and changes from a liquid state to vapor a high percentage of contaminants and pollutants are removed.
2. Condensation and Precipitation. Water condenses and falls back to the earth in the form of precipitation. The problem is that the pure distilled water falls through pollutants in our atmosphere from our factories, car emissions and many other harmful substances.
This month NASA astronauts launched a mission to improve the International Space Stations water recycling system. NASA installed a new water distiller and control pump system. This water recycling system is one part of the key systems know as the Enviromental Control and Life Support Systems (ECCLSS) for the Space Station.
Here on earth the process of purifying water through distillation is pretty simple…just boil water and then cool the steam back into 99.9% pure water. But in space you have one major problem NO GRAVITY. “The contaminants in the water never separate from the steam no matter how much heat is used,” said NASA. On earth when water is distilled the water turns to steam and gravity removes the contaminants as the water molecules changes their state from liquid to steam. The steam is then cooled and condenses back into it’s liquid state as fresh, clean 99.9% pure drinking water.
So how would you solve this problem? Use the Force? Ask the computer on the Enterprise to just create pure water for you? Could a room full of Trekies or Star Wars geeks figure out a solution faster than you could… who knows. I am sure you have guessed the solution already, just create gravity! In space you can create artificial gravity by rotating an object. That is exactly what NASA did.
The specially designed water distiller on the space station is spun to produce an artificial gravity field. “The contaminants press against the sides of the water distiller while the steam gathers in the middle and is pumped to a filter,” said NASA.
So I thought this was pretty cool. Who would have thought that there would be water distillers in space? Remember if you have any other water questions just “Ask The Water Expert” Reed Pettingill.
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