Water Recycling on Mars

We started up 6 major outreach projects with a number of schools in the Clark County School District in Nevada, as you recall, and one of them was a water recycling project. I think that was the one with the link I didn’t quite get up, so here it is now.

Water Recycling: http://youtu.be/wOYycEraS_U

A couple of weeks ago the kids sent us their video of their first attempt at making us a water filtration system. It was super cute, and involved them collecting pebbles from their garden and making dirty water by mixing water with chocolate pudding.

Last week when there was a break in the weather, Neil and I went out and collected some Martian* rocks that we could use to copy them and make our own water recycling filter. Here I am, collecting some rocks for us on Mars*:

Martha Dug A Hole

Sophie and I then spent about 3 days sifting the rocks by coarseness, using our colander and some strainers. It took us about 3 days, but we got some bins of large, medium, and small rocks, and a fair bit of sand for fine filtration.

Photo Mar 19, 2 08 09 PM

We finished the sifting today, and started on making our filter. We used an old juice bottle, and drilled a hole in the lid into which we fit a drywall screw anchor. We can fit a tube onto this, in case we want the filtered water to go somewhere in particular later. The kids used a coffee filter to make sure the sand wouldn’t go into their clean water, but we don’t have coffee filters, so we had to improvise. We cut open a couple of tea bags, dumped out the tea, and repurposed the tea bags for our filter. We also used a bit of cheese cloth doubled-over.

We screwed the cheese cloth and tea bag filters onto the the bottle. We cut off the end of the bottle, so we could fill it with the sand and rocks and water, and then set the filter up on an old pickle jar. We used some gross old dishwasher water (on the right) and dumped it into the filter. It came out MUCH clearer! It was super exciting, and there were high fives, very similar to the reaction that the elementary school kids had when their chocolate pudding water came out clear.

IMG_3284

Our water isn’t quite as clear as we want it yet, but a second run through the filter helped a bit, and we have plans to make a secondary, all-sand filter as well now.

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