UN Sustainable Goal 6 is crystal clear: Water for all by 2030. For World Water Day we take a look at ways that space can help this global challenge.
Did you know that up to 80% of the water on the International Space Station is recycled? Astronauts living and working 400 km above our planet might prefer not to think about it, but the water they drink is recycled from their colleague’s sweat and exhaled breath – collected as condensation on the Space Station’s walls. ESA astronaut Frank de Winne likens the water recycling on the International Space Station to drinking cups of coffee.
Water is precious on Earth but even more so in space where all drinkable water must be transported from home or recycled. As we explore further from our home planet providing water and food to astronauts will become more and more challenging so just like on Earth reduce, reuse, and recycle is the mantra for off-world explorers and their space agencies.
While Earth-observing satellites monitor our precious water resources, technologies developed for human space missions also serve global needs in harsh environments here on Earth.