ISS astronauts work to make water that burns

Written by PTI | Washington | Updated: Jan 6 2014, 21:57pm hrs
Astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) are working to develop a special kind of water that makes things burn.

The exotic substance, called supercritical water, is neither a solid, liquid, nor gas but rather a 'liquid-like gas'. It is made by compressing ordinary liquid water to 217 times the air pressure found at sea level and heating it above 373 degrees Celsius, 'Discovery News' reported. Supercritical water rapidly oxidises any organic substance it comes in contact with - in other words, it burns it, but without the flame part.

The water can aid in waste disposal, both in space and on Earth.

Burning via supercritical water breaks down harmful substances in liquid waste but does not produce particularly dangerous byproducts mostly just water and carbon dioxide, which can easily be filtered out.