Sultan Al Neyadi shows how precious water is used in space

Emirati astronaut reveals how water is used to circulate clean air on board the International Space Station

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi reveals the importance of water on the ISS. Photo: Sultan Al Neyadi / Twitter
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Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has helped to satisfy a thirst for knowledge about how water is used in space.

Dr Al Neyadi, who has been on board the International Space Station for almost a month, showed how the "precious resource" is preserved in his latest social media update.

The history-making space traveller has offered the public regular glimpses of life aboard the floating science laboratory since embarking on his six-month mission on March 3.

He told how water is used to create the clean air that circulates through the space station.

"Water is a precious resource in space," Dr Al Neyadi wrote on Twitter in a message accompanied by pictures of him working on a water recycling tank.

"It is used to create clean air by separating oxygen from hydrogen, and it is also recycled to provide a continuous supply of clean water.

"In these photos, I'm working on the tank that recycles water, while wearing a PPE kit to prevent contamination.

"Ensuring a well-maintained life support system is a key task for astronauts, particularly during long-duration missions."

Using water in space

While water is relatively plentiful on Earth, in space every drop counts.

This means no such luxury as enjoying a long hot shower, while there isn't the capability to take huge volumes of water into space.

Water is heavy and storage space is limited on the ISS, so astronauts have to recycle almost everything, including urine and sweat.

Water does not flow in a zero-gravity environment, so astronauts shower and brush their teeth differently.

This means installing a shower, tap or sink on the ISS would be pointless because water would float away in the form of droplets.

Instead, Dr Al Neyadi and his crewmates use a wet towel containing body wash to clean themselves.

To wash their hair, they must apply shampoo without water and wipe it off with a dry towel.

To brush their teeth, they can squeeze small amounts of water through a straw to rinse and then swallow.

Sultan in space - in pictures

Updated: April 01, 2023, 7:35 AM