While some of the crews living on the International Space Stating are already drinking water coming from evaporated laundry water and sweat, NASA took recycling to new extremes; They are getting their drinking water from the toilet.
NASA developed the new system with the rapid growth of residency in the station expected in three to six years to come. When water consumption increase, it would be almost impossible to ship enough water to the station. And recycling urine; turning it into drinking water would be the best solution. Agency officials said that the water from the system will be cleaner than U.S tap water.
NASA has spent decades to perfect the system to transform urine into drinking water and cost a startling $250 million. The system is expected to will be taken to the station this fall and be fully operational in six months.
How does it work?
The toilet will funnel liquid waste to the new system through pipes. There, water will be distilled from the waste and go through six steps of thorough cleansing. The cleansing process includes the addition of iodine to kill microbes and sucking in humidity from the astronauts’ waste and clean it. The end product will drip from taps in a galley and a “hygiene center.” The astronauts can use the water for bathing, brushing their teeth, drinking like any normal water.
Recycling wastewater is getting popular not only in space but on Earth too. Slowly but surely A dozen or so U.S. communities have plants that cleanse sewage so it can be added to aquifers that supply drinking water. The biggest plant, which can serve 500,000 people, opened this year in Orange County, Calif. Public disgust has squelched such systems in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Marybeth Edeen of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. admitted that the ‘recycled toilet water’ did pose some sort of psychological issue to get past with but after tasting it for a few times, she said that she can’t tell it apart from any other water.”It’s not urine anymore.”