Space inventions that changed life on Earth

For some, space is going to the cinema and enjoying blockbuster movies like 'Interstellar', ‘2001: A Space Odyssey' or 'Gravity'. Space is often a setting for diving into the human mind and our need for survival. For others, space is stars, moons, and dreams guiding them through rough times. For Aquaporin, space is where we push our boundaries: technology, products, and creativity to the very limit – and beyond. 

Aquaporin prides itself on rethinking water filtration with biotechnology, and Aquaporin Space Alliance venturing onto space missions with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) with is part of our DNA. But what can space missions do to improve Earth's technology, products, and applications?

Suppose you think of motorsport like Formula 1 or endurance racing like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The two sporting events are considered the pinnacle of car engineering, where engineers, scientists, and much more work on finding the solutions that will make you outperform everyone else on the track. The technology you see in racing is often a few years ahead of what you would face in your car, but nonetheless, the technology developed for racing often finds its way into the vehicles you can buy at your local dealership; improved safety, hybrid cars, and improved fuel consumption are just some examples. 

The same procedure goes for space, where technology is tested in the most extreme environments imaginable. Then the learnings and research can further our ability to venture into space, as well as find both new and improved existing applications on Earth.

Karolina Jastrembska, working as a Project Specialist at Aquaporin, has been a part of the development of the newest Aquaporin water filtration system that is going into space, and she sees a clear correlation between the problems Aquaporin works with in space and the problems we face on Earth. 

“The Aquaporin technology in space is developed to recover drinking water from wastewater. The efforts of the space technology development contribute immensely to the improvement of our technology on Earth.”

Karolina Jastrembska, Project Specialist

Access to clean water carries immense value, and that requires responsibility.

"Clean water is a precious gift, and we need to take care of it. Rethinking wastewater treatment and utilizing technologies such as Aquaporin’s technology can ensure and improve the daily production of clean water worldwide."

Karolina Jastrembska, Project Specialist

Inventing with a purpose

At ESA and NASA, developing new technology is the cornerstone for every mission because it is only as the technology advances that the potential increases of how far we can venture into space. 

But developing technologies for space has also created a lot of applications that can be used on Earth. Something as simple as home insulation started as a project made in space. NASA needed to develop insulation due to the extreme temperatures in space, which led to the invention of the aluminized polyester called Radiant Barrier, now used worldwide as home insulation.

For Karolina, working with space ignites curiosity; for her, exploring space unites nations and people to understand the universe in depth and move humankind forward. 

"The space project is a challenge. A challenge which brings me to an open state of mind where I ask questions like: "Why?", "How does that work?", "How can I improve it?". It makes me feel like I am working for a greater purpose. I can contribute with my small drop to the ocean of inventions good for life – here on planet Earth or in space."

Karolina Jastrembska, Project Specialist
Published on August 2023 in