Microwave Powered Gravitationally Independent Medical Grade Water Generation 2007-01-3176
The on-demand production of Medical Grade Water (MGW) is a critical biomedical requirement for future long-duration exploration missions. Potentially, large volumes of MGW may be needed to treat burn victims, with lesser amounts required to reconstitute pharmacological agents for medical preparations and biological experiments, and to formulate parenteral fluids during medical treatment. Storage of MGW is an untenable means to meet this requirement, as are nominal MGW production methods, which use a complex set of processes to remove chemical contaminants, inactivate all microorganisms, and eliminate endotoxins, a toxin originating from gram-negative bacteria cell walls. An innovative microgravity compatible alternative, using a microwave-based MGW generator, is described in this paper. The MGW generator efficiently couples microwaves to a single-phase flowing stream, resulting in super-autoclave temperatures. Equivalent microbial lethality is achieved much faster, and of equal significance, endotoxins are inactivated, eliminating the need for expendable ultrafiltration membranes, which are normally used for this purpose.