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Space Exploration Day

NASA astronaut Drew Feustel is pictured tethered to the International Space Station.

Today is Space Exploration Day and it made us think here at UKVending about how space travellers drink.

Ever since Yuri Gargarin was successfully launched into space in 1961 scientists and astronauts alike have struggled over how to provide their spacemen and women with enough fluids in a zero-gravity environment. To put it mildly water in space goes everywhere and acts differently without any gravity. It could also pose a danger should any water accidently get into sensitive electronic systems that keep people alive in perhaps the harshest environment known to mankind.

So how do space scientists get their astronauts enough water, coffee and tea? Furthermore, should the human race ever attempt to travel to Mars being properly hydrated would be of paramount importance. Currently, astronauts on the International Space Station get resupplies of water and food from cargo spacecraft that take around six-hours to get from the surface of the planet to orbit, but the journey time to Mars is a minimum of eight-months! The water Mars bound adventurers need would have to be carried and recycled again and again and again.

On the International Space Station, the water is extremely precious and also extremely heavy in terms of launching it into space. Much of this water is recycled using chemicals to ensure that there is no microbial contamination.

Once astronauts get to the Moon or even Mars there is the possibility that they could use the resources they find there to make fresh supplies. Water in space is hard to come by but is not scarce. Getting to it, however, could be hard work as it is usually found deep in the crusts of moons and planets.

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