NASA has patented “organic” cleaning methodology for water for astronauts

NASA has patented an efficient microwave-based water decontamination system for International Space Station (“ISS”).

Potable water is essential for long manned missions. Research has shown that the bacteria tend to accumulate in the water supplies on the ISS and they also mutate into strains that are highly resistant to eradication. Until now, chemicals were used to treat water on ISS, which  tend to cause some other adverse health effects for the astronauts.













(The International Space Station water recovery component of the Environmental Control and Life Support System – Credits: NASA)

The new patented system cleans water using microwave without the use of any chemical additives, which is kind of “organic” methodology. The microwaves kill 90% of the contaminants while increasing the temperature of the medium by less than about 10 degree Celsius.














NASA has been working on water purification techniques for decades. Some of their water purification systems has been used to provide clean water to “earthlings” as well.  The non-profit organization Concern for Kids has used NASA’s technology to provide clean water to villages in sub-Saharan Africa. So this is good news for everyone and not just astronauts.












Volunteers help install and test a water purification system in Kendala, Iraq. (Concern for Kids)











Patent Information
Publication number: US 9242874
Patent Title: Microwave-based water decontamination system
Publication type: Grant
Publication date: 26 Jan 2016
Filing date: 26 Nov 2013
Inventors: G. Dickey Arndt; Diane Byerly; Marguerite Sognier;
Original Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

US 9242874