In the day-to-day happenings of world politics, the United States and Russia are presented on the global stage as arch-enemies. Up in space, however, it’s a completely different story. Enter the International Space Station (ISS), which for years has housed astronauts from both countries along with life-support systems unique to each country’s needs. The two sides have long remained separate from one another until recently.
For years, the U.S. side of the ISS utilized iodine as its water cleansing agent of choice, while the Russian side took advantage of antibacterial silver for water purification purposes. Both sides coexisted peacefully in their respective methods, with the U.S. picking up whatever extra water the Russian side had leftover. Russia’s water purification process has always been much more efficient than that of the U.S.
It seemed that the two opposing nations would never find a common bond in adopting a single, standardized water purification method that served the interests of everyone. However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently made the decision to adopt Russia’s method of purifying its water after coming to the realization that adding ionized silver to water is easier, more effective, and much more efficient than adding iodine.
“Unlike iodine, silver doesn’t have to be filtered out of the water,” explains a report by Bloomberg, noting that iodine has to be filtered out of the U.S. water after use. “Epsom salts (magnesium) are added to improve its taste.”
NASA says silver is an effective purifying agent, despite what the FDA claims
Isn’t the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adamantly opposed to people using silver as a safe bactericide? The agency has repeatedly targeted companies trying to help people with antibacterial silver, including during the recent Ebola epidemic when it threatened organizations like the Natural Solutions Foundation for attempting to help Ebola victims by providing them with silver water.
What about the FDA’s persecution of Texas-based Utopia Silver Supplements, which has been fighting the agency for more than five years to defend its sale and distribution of colloidal silver supplements? The FDA continues to stonewall all attempts to conduct honest research into silver’s bacteria-destroying properties, and they have even threatened to shut down companies that sell it for personal and/or medical use.
The FDA apparently has no jurisdiction up in space, as both U.S. and Russian astronauts will now be taking advantage of silver as a water purifier. Clean water is understandably hard to come by on a space shuttle, and any method of obtaining it is open game. The fact that silver is now the primary method of keeping astronauts alive says a lot about its therapeutic potential.
The U.S. side of the ISS will continue to produce drinking water using iodine as a backup. As ISS subsystems manager Layne Carter puts it, they plan “to have dissimilar redundancies in the space station in case one of the systems has problems.” Nevertheless, the purifying method of choice will now be silver.
“Due to widespread growth in the use of colloidal silver as a biocidal agent, development of a simple and cost efficient method of silver testing is valuable,” admits NASA on its website. “On station, silver is used as a biocidal agent based on its antimicrobial properties in the potable water system.”
Too much silver may be toxic to humans, so NASA is supporting research into a simple technique that it says will allow ISS crew members to test silver levels in water in less than two minutes.
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