While in orbit, astronauts on board Atlantis – which returned to Earth on Thursday 21 July, effectively ending NASA’s shuttle programme – tested new biomedical technology which successfully removed all bacteria and viruses from contaminated water.

The polymer system has been developed by Strauss Water; a subsidiary of Israel’s largest food and beverage conglomerate, and was tested outside of the Earth’s atmosphere as the space industry looks for increasingly effective ways to improve the quality of water provided to astronauts on long missions.

“It may well be that astronauts, in the not too distant future, won’t have to empty contaminated water into space, but rather use a new Israeli water-purification technology to recycle water,” said Dr. Eran Schenker, Head of the Aerospace Medicine Research Center at Israel’s Fisher Institute.

Strauss Water hailed the test results and said that the research conducted in space would also have implications for purifying drinking water down on terra firma.

The company’s vice president, Haim Wilder, added: “This experiment coincides with the continuous effort of Strauss Water to develop new technologies and materials which will facilitate effective removal of bacteria and viruses under extreme conditions. This successful experiment constitutes an important milestone.”

Sam Plester

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie