Chapter 08.2

After checking the computer inventory of plumbing supplies on board, he sat down, pulled his iPad over and started drawing what he hoped would be a solution to their thorny problem. Their drinking water is stored in a series of one-inch tubular pipes running through the corrugated fiberglass outer walls of the Hab. The pipes are positioned in two courses around the ship, staggered like the thin side-walls of a compressed accordion and wrap almost all the way around the spacecraft, except where there is a hatch or window. In those cases, there are elbow pipe joints to bend the water around the hatches and windows. The six inches of foam insulation fill the corrugated fiberglass walls encasing the tubes. Enveloping everything is the traditional thin metal skin on the outside, coated with several thin layers of a sprayed-on foam insulation.


After water is used for drinking, cooking, plant irrigation, showers, and waste disposal, any waste liquid (including urine) is passed through the scrubber/recycler where it is purified to the same standards used by water bottling companies on Earth. This water is then pumped back into the wall storage tubes for reuse. In addition, a dehumidifier collects evaporation from the Hydroponics Deck and even the evaporation from perspiration. Not all water is recovered. The human body requires a portion of the water consumed. So all things considered, they are able to recycle nearly 92% of their water.

An hour later, Carl and Jackie had still not yet gone to bed. Tom was occupied by the same task as Brandon had been, attempting to come up with a workaround, with Carl lending a hand. Meanwhile, Sally was closely monitoring the computer screens at the control console, as if something were about to attack the ship at any moment. Jackie was assisting Valerie in the galley, both endeavoring to come up with ideas for nutritious meals that did not require cooking. On all of their minds was the sobering fact that the less electrical power they needed to use, the better. There were plenty of fresh vegetables ready to eat such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, and radishes, as well as strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Cold cereal will be readily available, and Pop-Tarts don’t have to be toasted to be good. The electrical issue wouldn’t make the crew go hungry.

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