Kian Lopez is being recognized with a presitigious 2022 NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) fellowship.
The annual program sponsors U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for our nation’s science, exploration and economic future.
Lopez is a 3rd year PhD student in environmental engineering being advised by Assistant Professor Anthony Straub.
NSTGRO honorees receive research funding and are matched with a technically relevant NASA subject matter expert, who serves as a research collaborator.
Lopez's research is focused on water recycling efforts for long duration space missions.
The recycling of urine, humidity condensate, and hygiene wash water are all necessary for long-term space exploration since it is not efficient to transport large quantities of potable water from Earth.
Safer, more efficient, and more compact methods of water recovery would allow astronauts to travel further in exploration missions and provide increased storage space for other necessary materials.
Lopez's work is on the application of a novel membrane process that uses applied pressure to drive distillation to address issues in current and future spacecraft water recovery systems related to weight, long-term durability, and contaminant rejection.