We often take water for granted, but that is far from the case up in space. Due to the difficulties of transporting and storing sufficient water for drinking and other activities, up to 80 percent of water consumed by astronauts on board the International Space Station is recycled from condensate, runoff and urine. The remainder – about 6000 to 9000 litres a year – is supplied by cargo vehicles.
Water recycled on board the Space Station is carefully monitored to ensure it is safe for astronauts to drink. Once it has been processed and filtered, it is said to taste much like bottled water. However, space is not the only environment where wise water management is vital.
Captured by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during his Horizons mission, the photos and tweets below show the state of our water resources back here on Earth as seen from the International Space Station.
What an incredible effort. If these irrigation systems are fed from ancient fresh water aquifers below the African continent, then how long will they last? And what then? #WorldWaterWeek #Horizons pic.twitter.com/SKp4b4fNDm
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 29, 2018
Just waves? Water is a fascinating substance, covering most of our planet. All the same H2O molecules, but every time I look down on it, it looks different. #WorldWaterWeek #Horizons pic.twitter.com/9ZxNs0coSc
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 28, 2018
Always impressive: the Nile River, with its massive artificial Lake Nasser.
Immer wieder eindrucksvoll: Der Nil, mit seinem massiven Nasser-Stausee. #Horizons #WorldWaterWeek pic.twitter.com/R6OJcr6elU
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 27, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 24, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 18, 2018
A busy day on the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Naples. This image shows why Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous active volcanoes on this planet – it is completely surrounded by cities. #ExploreFarther #Horizons pic.twitter.com/DiUKeG8T83
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 15, 2018
The Aral Sea in July 2018. Can you see a difference to my photos in 2014? Part of the lake was enclosed by a dam since then.
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) July 23, 2018
The Caspian Sea with the enormous Volga River delta on one side, and Iran on the other side. I would love to travel there one day… #explore
Das Kaspische Meer mit dem gigantischen Volga-Delta auf der einen Seite, und Iran auf der anderen. Ein Reiseziel auf meiner Liste… pic.twitter.com/oKNu0ZPBbC
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) July 18, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) July 11, 2018
Just had a chance to take my first photos of dried-out Central Europe and Germany since a few weeks, and was shocked. What should have been green, is now all brown. Never seen it like this before. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/o2XoddPdrM
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 6, 2018
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 31, 2018