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Water Tech

Posted by: chris77au - Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:26 am
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Post Water Tech   Posted on: Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:26 am
Does anyone know what kind of system the NASA engineers would use for water recycling and usage on th elong 6 month mission to Mars planned? What did they use when they went to the moon with Apollo?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 18, 2004 11:55 pm
Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that Apollo used the water from the fuel cells for drinking. The waste was discarded.

As far as Mars goes that will not work. NASA, various Universities, and aerospace firms etc. using grants from them have been on recycling for decades. I'm sure it will be years before the design for the Mars misson is finalized.

As far as I know the ISS recovers water from the air and waste. Waste is recovered distilled and filtered. Biocide is added and the water is recycled. Everything else is discarded.


This would seem to be a major engineering concern for a crewed mission of the proposed duration. I am sure in the next couple years we will find out if this method will be acceptable or will require re design. I'm sure that the future will involve bioremediation. The first missions on the other hand will likely use more proven technology.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:31 am
bioremediation.... hmm..... you'd need a really big recycling area for that, after all bioremediation == using plants to clean up waste. obviously if we ever make a generation ship or some other interstellar vessel with a long travel time (long meaning 25+ years), then definitely it would be worth looking into, but for smaller ships then a quicker, more energy intensive way will definitely be the way to go. possibly this will mean just heating the waste to a very high heat so it breaks down into its component elements (by say running it through a nuke reactor where it's around 10 000 C or more), but that would break down everything so you'd lose all your organic materials. maybe good, but probably not the way to go for most wastes.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:37 am
Plants and animals come in many sizes though, for this use I recomend small ones. :wink: The nifty thing about living things is they keep doing whatever it is they do until they die. The hard part is making them do what you want and only what you want.

Complete disassociation of contaminants is a good idea too, although more energy intensive in theory. Something like plasma arc will give complete molecular breakdown.

http://www.oztoxics.org/research/3000_h ... ml#plascon

If energy were not an issue a system using reverse osmosis and plasma arc treatment of the waste brine would be neat. Pure water, pure elements, a bit of off-gas, inert cinter, and a bunch of waste heat would be the end result.

Obviously I have no idea what the cutting edge folks are actually doing with water tech right now. I doubt that we will see anything fudementally different than what we see on the ISS in the near future. If this whole thing takes off I think that vessels that remain in space will do whatever they can to close the loop. In a couple decades I think that the life sciences will be helping with that end.

Now all we have to do is wait. :roll:


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Post Red Dwarf   Posted on: Mon Jan 19, 2004 5:18 am
If anyone's seem the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf they have a "urine recycle" system in use aboard their ship. Feasible anyone?


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:35 am
Chris

Are you asking if it is possible to process urine into potable water?

Then yes and they already doing it.

Here is the NASA educational .pdf

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/Instructional ... he.ISS.pdf


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Post    Posted on: Mon Jan 19, 2004 2:53 pm
For water filtration the ISS already has a system in place that dose this job well (follow link). But on the mission on the moon and definitely to/and on mars you may want to store the solids waste so it can be reused for plant fertilizer. After six months of eating Freeze-dried food it would be nice to eat some fresh food.

This can be done by not putting any thing that is hard to remove from water down the drain.

Waste not want not! This is not a slogan but the reality for space travel.

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/Instructional ... he.ISS.pdf


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