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Improving potable water quality on spacecraft

Research Achievements

Improving potable water quality on spacecraft

For his UW AB Program research rotation, David Smith (Biology/AB) spent Summer 2009 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Polymer Science and Technology Laboratory developing materials that could improve potable water quality in Environmental Control and Life Support systems onboard spacecraft. Biofilms pose a serious threat to long duration spaceflight, and Smith evaluated antimicrobial technologies already developed by several NASA-partnered agencies. Few claims of antimicrobial technology had been verified by independent testing, and none had been verified in reduced-gravity environments or under test conditions relevant to spacecraft systems. After extensive testing on the ground, Smith's team successfully flew a set of experiments onboard a Johnson Space Center Reduced Gravity Office Zero G aircraft. This research rotation gave Mr. Smith rapid training in NASA flight experiment-related hardware and protocols knowledge that will serve him well in future astrobiology endeavors.