Space travel and surviving extended droughts share the common problem of how to best manage precious water resources.
The water filtration technology developed for space travel enables astronauts to re-use 93% of their waste water.
In space, waste water is passed through a filter containing a type of protein called an aquaporin which is embedded in a membrane.
Aquaporins are present in every lifeform and are important for facilitating the rapid transport of water across cell membranes.
Plants in particular have a great diversity in aquaporins and do an excellent job of filtering water.
Half of our annual precipitation passes through plants, and about half of the water that passes through plants moves through aquaporins.
Studying the diversity of aquaporin function in plants offers great promise for accelerating water filtration technologies for use in space.
The next steps for researchers in their quest to advance waste water and nutrient management systems on Earth and in space, are likely to be inspired by the function of aquaporin proteins.
In this video, Dr Caitlin Burt tells us how Exploring strategies for advancing water filtration for space travel and on Earth.
The video was produced courtesy of Phil Up On Science, philuponscience.com.au and filmed by Edward Haynes.
Original story from inspace.