One major goal of space operations is to find a way to recycle waste, especially waste water. Israeli technology tested on the last space shuttle voyage may have made that goal possible in the near future.
Eran Schenker, a researcher at the Aerospace Medical Research Center, developed a device that removes bacteria and viruses from water so that it may be reused and not simply dumped into space. Schenker worked with a team that was partially staffed by researchers from Strauss water and Professor Eyal Shimoni, the lead scientist at Strauss.
According to Schenker, the astronauts tested the device over the course of the mission that took off on July 8 and ended on Thursday. The results will be available to the scientist shortly, who are currently monitoring the bacteria present on the outside and inside of the device itself. The device is not the first Israel device tested by NASA in space.
The active ingredient, as explained by Strauss VP of Research & Development Haim Wilder, is a combination of chemicals stored in a substrate that kills bacteria and viruses upon contact. The technology to do was tested in the most volatile conditions on Earth as well as in a zero-gravity scenario. Wilder expects that the technology could be used on Earth in addition to space, especially in areas where potable water is not available. The Strauss group is already installing the devices in parts of rural China where water purification is difficult.
Referring to the device itself, Schenker said the critical step in water purification that makes water potable is the purging of bacteria and viruses. Because of this, the processes and technologies that achieve this end must be understood thoroughly implementing water systems in areas where water conservation is vital.
Other Strauss executives praised the device, saying that the device shows that Israel is a leader and pioneer in the development of irrigation and water purification systems as well as praising the team for their efforts in developing water solutions that will improve the quality of living around the world.