Nanotechnology for Beyond Earth Water Treatment
Dongare, Pratiksha D.
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NASA has embarked on a journey to enable human exploration on the Moon and Mars by 2024. These long duration missions beyond low earth orbit (LEO) will require advanced water treatment and reuse technologies for life support systems to support crew and system needs. Resupply to deep space destinations is not desirable and sustained human presence in a lunar environment increases the necessity for robust and reliable systems. To reduce propulsion costs and transit space allocations, mass, power consumption, and volume must be minimized for all systems. Additionally, a beyond (LEO) water treatment system process must be able to tolerate both operational and dormant periods. Herein, we present nanotechnologies developed by the Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) center as advanced solutions to meet the aforementioned requirements. This survey of fit-for-purpose modular technologies includes room temperature nanocatalysis, nanophotonics, nano-selective scalant control, quorum sensing and biofouling control techniques, and nano enabled fluid management. A case study of integrating nanotechnology into state-of-the-art and developing systems is also presented.