News Stories

Space Traffic

...and pee problems in space - Outer space is a busy thoroughfare of satellites operated by many nations. Earth orbits are crowded with active spacecraft, as well as dead or dying satellites. We're even littering there! There is also the problem of?peeing in space (and they have much more important things to concern them up there).

Increasingly, it is commercial and civil satellites which are being placed into orbit, and the nations and companies that operate them need to have the awareness to be able to operate them in a safe and sustainable way. Commercial companies who operate large, expensive communication satellites in the geostationary belt?a densely packed area 22,236 miles directly above the equator?have already recognized the importance of this and have started the process.

Space researcher Brian Weeden says, "Much of the data needed is already being collected by various actors, from scientific institutions to multinational companies to backyard satellite observers."

Back inside one of the largest of these space objects?the International Space Station (ISS)?astronauts have a special problem. Two hundred and fifty miles above the Earth puts you a long way from the nearest kitchen tap. And at $15,000 a pint, the cost of shipping fresh water aboard the space shuttle is astronomical.

So astronauts on the International Space Station have to recapture every possible drop. That includes water evaporated from showers, shaving, tooth brushing and hand washing, plus perspiration and water vapor that collects within the astronauts' space suits. They even transfer water from the fuel cells that provide electric power to the space shuttle.

Until now, however, NASA has not attempted to tap one major potential source of water: urine. That will soon change with the deployment of the new Water Recovery System, which can transform ordinary pee into water so pure it rivals the cleanest on Earth.

Researcher Christopher Ferguson says, "I would challenge you to find any other system on the Earth that recycles urine into drinkable water."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

It's not just urine that's being morphed into drinking water?things are always changing, so let's hope they're changing for the better!

To learn more, click here, here and here.

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now