Israeli Water Purification Device Returns To Earth
Among the passengers aboard the Atlantis space shuttle’s final voyage was an Israeli biomedical water purification device, which was undergoing initial tests for use in zero-gravity, outer space conditions.
The device, which contains technology that effectively removes bacteria and viruses from polluted water, was developed by a research team headed by Eran Schenker, an aerospace physician and director of the Aerospace Medicine Research Center at the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, in collaboration with Haim Wilder, vice president of research and development of Strauss Water, and Prof. Eyal Shimoni, chief scientist of Strauss Group.
The goal for space operations, Wilder told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, is to be able to recycle 100 percent of water used and polluted by astronauts during their missions.
“It may be possible that in the near future, astronauts will not have to throw contaminated water into space,” Schenker said in a statement, referring to current procedures, in which all used water must be dumped into space.
After lifting off on July 8 for its final journey into space, the Atlantis landed on Thursday.
During the mission the astronauts were able to test out the Israeli water purification technology, and the results of the tests will soon be available to the team of scientists, who are currently monitoring the types of microbes that have grown on the device itself, Wilder said.
Inside the device, which was developed about six months ago, is a polymer-based substrate containing chemicals that are able to kill bacteria and viruses upon contact, Wilder explained. On Earth, the scientists had already tested that the technology works under the most extreme conditions and even had simulated a zero-gravity situation.