Recycling Water In Space Orbit

Did you know that NASA recycles water in outer space? The International Space Station was equipped with an apparatus that will take the sweat and urine collected from astronauts and converts it into reusable water. Prior to the development of this new recycling water device, crews used to have to rely on water carried to the ISS via space shuttles or cargo rockets sent directly to the site.


The NASA developed recycler will reduce that by 65-percent with an output of approximately 6-thousand pounds of potable water per year. With that volume, the space station can double the number of crew members it can host at once from three to six. The recycler can reuse 93-percent of the water fed into it, according to NASA.


The challenge in recycling water in space comes from gravity. Distilling water on Earth involves just boiling water and cooling the steam produced back into water with the steam flowing through a filter separating contaminants from the water. Without gravity, the separation process does not occur. In order to distill water in space a keg-sized distiller has to be spun to create an artificial gravity field.


When the distiller is spun, the contaminants in urine are pushed against the side of the distiller drum and steam is gathered in the middle of the spinning apparatus. The steam is then pumped through a filter which contains charcoal materials to pull away the contaminants.


If this sounds very familiar, it should. It is basically the same kind of system used by any other water filtering system with the exception of the need for an artificial gravity field. The goal of NASA’s recycling water system was to reduce the need for supplies to be shipped from Earth. It also means that astronaut crews would be able to endure longer space missions as a result.


The water recycler is one of several projects that have been under development to make space flights more efficient and kinder to the environment. Another such example is an oxygen generator which splits the oxygen and hydrogen molecules in water. It then sends the oxygen back into the space station in the form of breathable air.


And that’s not all. The NASA water filtering process has led to filtration developments that have resulted in distribution to parts of the world where water sources have been contaminated. This humanitarian effort has allowed NASA to touch many lives on Earth as they continue to explore away from Earth.

What Are The Natural Sources of Water?

There are a total of three natural sources of water. They are categorized as: rain water, underground water and surface water. Here is a look at each and what supplies these sources.

1 – Rain Water

Rain water includes other sources such as snow and additional types of precipitation. The precipitation that falls to the Earth is a major part of the water cycle as it replenishes both surface and underground water sources.


2 – Underground Water

These are the sources of water that basically you can’t see or can’t access easily. The important role underground water sources play in the water cycle is that they are the primary sources for human consumption. These underground bodies of water are often accessed through wells and when pressure under the surface is too great, this water is pushed up and out through springs.


3 – Surface Water

Easy to see and use, surface water is easily the most abundant supply of natural water. The downside is that most of the surface water on the planet is salt water so it is not ideal for drinking for most living species. Surface water does play an important part in our daily lives in addition to being a source of drinking water. Surface water is used to produce hydro-electric power as a clean energy source that is also renewable. Surface water is supplied by precipitation, springs and ice melting from higher elevations and glaciers.


Hidden Natural Sources Of Water

Probably the largest source of water on the planet is ‘hidden’ or trapped in a different form of water. The ice in glaciers, polar ice caps and even in the atmosphere all contain hidden sources of water. Although these sources are not readily available for use, they all eventually become fresh water through melting and precipitation.


Careful How You Use It

Although all the natural sources of water are constantly replenished through weather cycles, we still need to be conservative in how we use water. Fresh water is like a precious gift. We should use it sparingly and do everything in our power to share and protect it for future generations. When we control how we use water, we are helping the planet.

If your municipality has water restrictions, follow them to ensure there is enough water available for when you really need it. Try to not waste water in your home by using flow regulators and collect rain water for use in your garden. There are several ways to keep the natural water cycle flowing if we are careful in how we use the water we have access to today.


Who Invented The Drinking Straw?

There are so many modern conveniences that we take for granted – including the drinking straw. That’s probably because most of us use them for much more than drinking from a glass or container. A straw can be used to assist with the delivery of a well-aimed spitball. They also make for great chew toys when we are deep in concentration.


But have you ever thought about the actual invention of the straw? After all, someone had to come up with the design and shape of what we now know as a rainbow of different coloured straws. Some even are twisted into funny shapes but all serve the same function – to provide you with a simple way to deliver liquids to your mouth.


People were using hollow rye plant stems long before an actual patent was recorded. The plant stems worked well but would fall apart over time which ended up changing the texture and flavour of whatever was being consumed in liquid form.


Marvin Stone is created with the actual invention of the drinking straw. His paper configuration was granted a patent on January 3, 1888. Stone’s design used paper tubes that were covered in a coating of paraffin to keep them from falling apart. The first patented design of his was for a straw that measured 8.5 inches long. Clearly it was meant for use with beverages that were in bottles.


Stone went even further with the plan by inventing a machine that, in addition to making radio components, also rolled paper straws. Talk about an entrepreneur! Stone was on top of two major trends of the day bringing people together for drinking around a radio. The only thing that made Stone’s straw of then different to that of today was that it was a straight tube of paper.


Joseph Friedman saw an opportunity to make Stone’s straw invention even better and enhanced the original in 1936 with a patent application where a series of scores would be added to each straw. Those scores would make any drinking straw easier to use because they allowed the user to bend the straw.


The next time you start to chew on a plastic or paper straw or use one to drink your favourite cold beverage, think back to over one hundred years when that handy, disposable tool in your mouth was first invented.

The Average Water Use Per Person – How We Waste Water

The average water use per person varies but estimates put it at between 80 and 100 gallons per day. When you take a look at how we use water in the home, it isn’t hard to believe such figures. This is also why many communities and utilities offer rebates when you install flow regulators on all taps, in the shower and use efficient flushing toilets. But how are we wasting water? Let’s take a look at how much water is used in the average household and how.


1 – Bathroom

The bathroom uses probably the most water in the household. If you have a tub you can expect to use about 36-gallons of water. A shower uses considerably less totaling roughly 2-gallons per minute with the key here to take short showers to reduce your average water use. Flushing the toilet will use about 3-gallons per flush. Newer models are designed to use less water and that is about 1.6 gallons per flush.


2 – Kitchen

The dishwasher will use between 6 and 16 gallons if it is an older model. Newer styles use under 6 gallons per wash cycle. Conversely, washing dishes by hand can use 8 to 27 gallons of water with newer faucets using under 2 gallons per minute.


3 – Personal Hygiene

Brushing your teeth will use under a gallon of water and you will also use about the same for washing your hands and face during a typical day. The average water use for shaving your face or legs is also about a gallon, provided the faucet is turned off when you are actually shaving.


4 – Other Uses

The clothes washer will use up to 40-gallons of water per load – if it is an older model. Newer energy efficient styles have cut that figure down to roughly 25 gallons per load. Lawn watering outdoors can vary but with the use of a timer and bylaws in place in many municipalities regulating when you can and cannot water you will use about 2 gallons of water per minute.


How To Reduce Your Average Water Use

The most effective way to cut down how much water you waste at home is to use flow reducers and limit the amount of time spent doing some of the “water wasting” tasks such as taking shorter showers. Also, by turning off the faucet when washing hands or shaving, you will cut down on the amount of water that goes to waste. Cutting back on water use is wise as it saves you money instead of watching it run down the drain.

Why We Need To Drink Clean Water

Considering the majority of our bodies are comprised of fluids and water, it only makes sense that we should drink clean water if we want to stay healthy. But what exactly does water, in particular, clean water, do for us really? Here is a look at some of the benefits to having clean water in your system.


1 – Reduce Health Risks


Ask any doctor or health care professional and they will tell you that you will be healthier if you drink clean water. But what exactly does water do for us inside our bodies aside from keeping us hydrated? It turns out that without clean water our bodies can suffer from many different issues. They include kidney stones, cancer, blood clots and heart disease. We can also develop mental and general fatigue, crankiness and put on extra weight.

The main organ that benefits from when we drink clean water is the kidney. In fact, our kidneys process the water contained in our bodies and in doing so makes sure we don’t end up with urinary tract infections by flushing excess fluid out of our bodies as urine. The flushing also removes other toxins that enter our bodies through other means.

As for preventing cancer, with regular intake of clean water the workout you give your bladder reduces the risk of it developing cancer. Plus, as water contains no calories but works to make you feel full, it plays a vital role in several diet plans. As a result, drinking water and eating healthy foods work to promote weight loss and the maintenance of a safe weight.


2 – Reduce Dehydration

It’s no secret that if your body does not contain enough water, it will become dehydrated. Various factors will have an impact on how your body uses the water inside it and without proper replenishing of water lost through these factors you risk hurting yourself. Dehydration puts stress on the body and can wear you down making you susceptible to contracting various illnesses or problems.

Also, when the body becomes dehydrated the amount of blood flow throughout the body is affected. This contributes to mental and physical fatigue. When you are not mentally sharp you risk having problems with judgment and could end up injured from an accident or fall from fainting. When you drink enough clean water you prevent all of these issues.


Preventative Medicine

So you could actually look at having to drink clean water as a form of preventative medicine. By keeping your body properly hydrated you reduce the risks that can come from “running low” on fluids. Just as a vehicle does not operate well without correct fluid levels, your body won’t either so you need to keep topping it up with clean water whenever you can.


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