One of the problems facing astronauts who propose to spend a long time exploring other worlds is finding and retaining enough water to drink. It is true that there may be ice in some of the permanently shaded craters at the lunar North and South Poles, as well as sub surface water on Mars. But astronauts will need to recycle water to a degree hitherto unattempted.
Water recycling technology, now under development, will not only assist astronauts on other worlds, but will bring potable drinking water to places in the Third World and areas struck by disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. About a billion people live without drinkable water. As a result, ten million people a year die from diseases brought about by unsafe drinking water, two million of them children.
The Water Security Company has developed water purification equipment that will render any fresh water, no matter how contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or pollutants, drinkable. That includes urine.
The technology developed by Water Security uses a variety of filters to screen out contaminants, as well as proprietary technology, MCV Iodinated resin and our iodine scrubber, Iodosorb, to disinfect the water. MCV Iodinated resin is a slow release resin, capable of sustaining a predictable release of iodine into incoming water over a long period of time. Iodosorb is also a resin-based product and has an affinity for all species of iodine.
The standard equipment being offered can produce four gallons per minute from any water source, surface or well water, which is sufficient for a small, rural village. It includes a sediment filter, a 1 micron carbon pre-filter, the MCV & Iodosorb cartridges for disinfection and a .5 micron cyst/polishing filter as well as a flow monitor which alerts the user when 30,000 gals have passed through the system indicating it is time for a filter replacement.
Other models being offered include a .5 gallon per minute device that can be used where piped water is considered unreliable and a .5 gallon per minute device that includes a hand pump and an inlet hose that can be dropped directly into a lake or a stream. A 1 liter per minute device that can be used as a counter top unit is under development.
In honor of the fact that the technology was developed under the auspicies of NASA, Water Security has named their units after famous space systems. The 4 gallon per minute unit is called Discovery. The .5 gallon per minute units are called Endeavour and Apollo respectively. The planned 1 liter per minute unit will be called Atlantis.
The advantages of using this kind of equipment should be obvious. Instead of having to truck in water to remote locations, either in the Third World or in disaster locations, drinkable water can be produced on the spot. The technology has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people and save thousands of lives.
And, in the not so distant future, the water purification technology will be used to help astronauts and then later space settlers survive on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.