Making a difference in the water sector

| Our scientists are innovating all the time on the problems and risks that face human spaceflight. Recently, the Water and Food Analytical laboratory used “teamwork, innovative thought, and old-fashioned scientific detective work” to solve the issue of an increase in total organic carbon (TOC) in the water screened on-orbit. We understand about using new methods […]

Our scientists are innovating all the time on the problems and risks that face human spaceflight. Recently, the Water and Food Analytical laboratory used “teamwork, innovative thought, and old-fashioned scientific detective work” to solve the issue of an increase in total organic carbon (TOC) in the water screened on-orbit. We understand about using new methods and new processes to figure out the answers.

Now we are also taking those answers and applying them to some innovative problems.

LAUNCH: Water was held at NASA Kennedy Space Center in March 2010.  There the select 10 Water Innovators presented their innovations which included transformative ideas, technology and research which addressed water sustainability challenges in areas that included water efficient vertical farming systems, low cost bacterial water testing, water contaminant floating sensor network, carbon credit financed water purification system, electro-chemical arsenic removal system and evaporation-based underground irrigation technology among others.

LAUNCH is a vital example of why talking about and practicing innovation really does matter.

Waterhackathon is committed to challenging water experts and software developers from around the world to co-create the innovative solutions needed to help solve today’s water problems. Waterhackathon will provide open source solutions to resource management, point monitoring and access mapping, real-time climate comparisons, and more. This global event will be held in October 2011, offering experts, software developers, and even entrepreneurs to use open data to address real problems and make them freely available. NASA will use the newly-developed data.nasa.gov to help provide an easily-accessible repository for NASA’s climate and hydrology data.

Here are the current water problems listed for Waterhackathon: http://www.rhok.org/problem-definition-category/water.

SERVIR Global isn’t specifically water-focused, but nevertheless remains an essential resource for the water sector and anyone looking at the data behind climate change and resource issues. NASA is providing technical expertise to world challenges every single day.

“[W]e are talking a whole-of-government approach to this issue. Beyond the State Department, USAID, and the MCC, we are harnessing the expertise of our technical agencies, the knowledge of the intelligence community, and the best practices from those who have been working on these challenges right here in the United States.

One example is a joint USAID-NASA initiative to create an earth observation monitoring and visualization system in the Himalayas. The glaciers in that mountain range serve as the water tower of Asia, providing the water supply for more than 1.3 billion people. In cooperation with nearby countries, USAID and NASA are developing a system that will provide a clearer picture of water supply and demand for the region and facilitate efforts to adapt to climate change.” – Hillary Clinton in a speech for World Water Day, Washington, DC, March 2010

Many parts of the US are currently in a serious drought. Wildfires burn through Texas while parts of the Northeast are  still severely flooded. These events and tools are vital routes for NASA to collaborate with unconventional partners, develop new software and hardware, and apply the results of our research and exploration to some of the most vital problems facing our fragile oasis.

What other issues do you think NASA is well-positioned to help address?


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