Monday, March 21, 2005

from - 'Astronauts' sweat provides water for drinking'

file under fascinating, and potentially life-saving, along with weird: this article from "Astronauts' sweat provides water for drinking."
Yep, that's right. Apparently, this system has been in process for NASA astronauts that would use sweat, respiration, and even urine to provide drinking water - pure drinking water, after it runs through this system being created. It isn't ready for space yet, but some groups are looking into using it on earth sooner than later - to provide, for example, clean drinking water for tsunami victims.

An excerpt: "The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, has been testing a device intended for the space station that would recycle astronauts' sweat, respiration and even urine into drinking water purer than any found in a tap.
"They just breathe and exercise, urinate into the urinal and our system handles the rest," said Robyn Carrasquillo, chief of the environmental control and life support division at Marshall.
It could be two years before the water system -- as large as two refrigerators -- is loaded onto a shuttle to serve an American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut living in space. But smaller and simpler versions will soon be put to use on earth.
Reno, Nevada-based investment firm Crestridge and the charity Concern for Kids are developing the systems for humanitarian purposes in nations lacking a reliable water supply, starting with Iraq and countries in southeast Asia.
"There are 1.8 billion people who have never had a drink of fresh water," said Kevin Chambers, Crestridge's managing director. "Our mission is grand, but we've got to start somewhere and sometime -- and now is the time."
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