A better solution for astronauts who drink their own piss


Aquaporin A/S made this new small and lightweight filter that uses aquaporins, membrane proteins, to turn urine, sweat, and wastewater into drinkable water.

It's now being tested aboard the International Space Station and could eventually be used on Earth in developing or drought-ridden regions that lack clean drinking water. From Smithsonian:


Astronauts have been drinking distilled urine since 2009, and they currently recapture 93 percent of wastewater, but the system they're using now is heavy, slow and has been prone to breaking down. It spins the urine at high speed to separate out the water vapor, then treats it chemically. The system can recycle 6,000 liters a year, but that's not enough to sustain a crew of multiple astronauts over a long period…

The (Aquaporin A/S) filter works essentially the same way your kidney does. The system is just two tubes hooked up to an energy source. It pulls a liter of urine from one container through the filter and out into another container in less than a minute. The device is small, light and less likely to clog than the filters currently being used.

"A New Efficient Filter Helps Astronauts Drink Their Own Urine"

Image above from 2009: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station celebrate their wastewater recycling system with a toast of recycled urine water.