Colorimetric-Solid Phase Extraction (C-SPE): In-Flight Methodologies for the Facile Determination of Trace Level Indicators of Water Quality
At present, spacecraft water quality is assessed when samples collected on the International Space Station (ISS) are returned to Earth. Several months, however, may pass between sample collection and analysis, potentially compromising sample integrity by risking degradation. For example, iodine and silver, which are the respective biocides used in the U.S. and Russian spacecraft potable water systems, must be held at levels that prevent bacterial growth, while avoiding adverse effects on crew health. A comparable need exists for the detection of many heavy metals, toxic organic compounds, and microorganisms. Lead, cadmium, and nickel have been found, for instance, in the ISS potable water system at amounts that surpass existent requirements. There have been similar occurrences with hazardous organic compounds like formaldehyde and ethylene glycol. Microorganism counts above acceptable limits have also been reported in a few instances.