Many fail to understand the huge amounts of money that goes into space explorations. The billions of dollars the machines and space craft of space need are products of millions of man-hours of work from the design teams to the astronaut that actually do the flying of the said marvelous machines. The space shuttle is the most expensive single space-craft that has been developed and made that is due to its re-usable nature. Most spacecraft are one time use only with the exception of the US space shuttle fleet and the Russians who handle the re-supply of the international space station through un-manned spacecraft.
When going into space, weight is the main cost factor for it costs a couple of thousand dollars to carry a single kilogram of material and men into space. Water, food, clothes and the many other basic necessities we love and enjoy here on earth are simply too costly to carry into space. Water being a necessity for the survival is a premium and scientists have long been working to recover all amounts of the stuff from all types of waste. The use of Hydrogen fuel cells accounts for the water generation capabilities of the shuttle as well as electrical power needs but for emergencies when, say the hydrogen stores are almost depleted every drop of water is essential for survival. Urine is one prime source of water that used to be released into the vacuum of space in the Apollo era but scientists have come up with a $20 million dollar water extraction and filtration system that would allow astronauts to survive in case of emergencies. The human body disposes of urine as waste but the liquid form to carry away waste, the liquid form gives clues to its major component, water. All water in the vacuum of space simply turns into ice locking the hydrogen and oxygen molecules together. In a space craft imagine the well accepted 8 glasses of water a day regimen for four people and you get an average consumption of 2 liters per person and 2 gallons for four people per day amounts to 8 kilograms of water required purely for drinking without washing and bathing needs. Say a kilogram of cargo costs $50,000, $400,000 just to get 8 kilos of water for those four people for two days.
The upcoming space mission is to install some equipment including a waste water recovery unit developed by the Russians with the help of the many participating member countries that would help augment the need for bringing water for the ever lengthening stays astronauts are doing to undergo as the International Space Station nears completion and full functionality.
Would you drink water from your pee? You’ll have to, for in space, there’s no corner store to get a glass or liter of the stuff and the designers of the machine says it produces water that has better quality that tap water form the home!