Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Space, Lunar Colonists May Have To Drink "Recycled Urine"

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In space, water is more precious than gold. Unfortunately for our species, our nearest neighbor has very little (if any) upon its surface.

While importing water from Earth would be desirable, future settlers may have to settle for drinking water redeemed from their own urine.

(Universe Today) But NASA has been working on a recycling system to transform urine and other liquid wastes into water that can be used in space for drinking, food preparation and washing. Agency officials say the water from the system will be cleaner than U.S. tap water. [...]

The Water Recovery System recycles liquid wastes — which can consist of urine, sweat, or leftover water used for bathing or food preparation — by filtering it through a series of chemical processes and filters, making it safe to drink. Urine, for example, first passes through a distillation process to separate the liquid phase from the gaseous phase, after which it is mixed with other water waste and is treated with the help of a water processor.

Since exporting water to the Moon will probably be very expensive, recycling ones own urine may help not only keep costs down, but enable the future colony to become more self sufficient.

This technology would also be useful for future settlers (or prisoners) upon Mercury, whose close proximity towards the Sun makes water a bit scarce.

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