[THROWBACK] Astronaut drinks recycled urine in space to show ISS' water purification system

The commander of the International Space Station drank recycled urine in space to demonstrate how water is recycled

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) previously released a video showing one of its astronauts drinking recycled urine while aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The purpose of the video was to show the effectiveness of the water purification system of the orbiting space station.

The clip, which was shared through YouTube in 2013, features Chris Hadfield, a retired astronaut from the CSA. Back then, Hadfield was the commander of the ISS. During his time as the commander of the station, Hadfield made a series of videos showing his life in space. One of these explains how a special system allows astronauts to recycle water on the ISS.

Gravity and astronauts
Representational picture Pixabay

Recycling Water On The ISS

According to the former astronaut, the ISS' supply of drinking water was used to be delivered through resupply missions. This all changed in 2010 when a water purification system was installed on the ISS. As noted by Hadfield, the system is composed of filters and a distiller that allows the astronauts to recycle and clean the water they have used and expelled.

Basically, the system's distiller spins around to mimic gravity, which helps in separating the waste particles from the water. The filters and other components of the system then work together to purify the water. Hadfield said the system is able to recycle about 6,000 litres of additional water for the ISS yearly.

Drinking Urine In Space

To demonstrate how clean the water aboard the ISS is, Hadfield drank a sample that used to be urine. As noted by the former ISS commander, recycling urine collected from a special toilet is an important aspect in the supply of drinking water above the station. Also, through the purification system, Hadfield noted that the water astronauts consume aboard the station, even if it came from urine, is much cleaner than most drinking water on Earth.

"We even recycle our urine," Hadfield stated. "But before you cringe at the thought of drinking your leftover wash water in your leftover urine, keep in mind that the water that we end up with is purer than most of the water that you drink on a daily basis. Hopefully, that makes the International Space Station its own self-contained environment," he added. "That's a critical step towards living for long periods off of planet Earth."

Related topics : Space
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