Water is one of the quintessential “ingredients” if life were to be sustained, and in its undeniable role in making sure that life continues, there is every possibility that nations in the future might actually go to war over water instead of other resources. Researchers at MIT’s School of Engineering have teamed up with their colleagues at the Pontifical University of Chile in Santiago, in order to increase water harvesting at the Atacama Desert, which happens to be located on the coast of Chile and is touted to be one of the driest regions on Earth.
The Atacama Desert on the coast of Chile is home to one of the driest regions on Earth. Researchers at MIT’s School of Engineering, along with colleagues at the Pontifical University of Chile in Santiago, are attacking the problem with some pretty unconventional means. By deploying a system of mesh structures, erected on high ground consistently cloaked in fog, they have been able to collect fog and convert it into potable drinking water that can also be used for agriculture. The fog-collecting system is a wonderful application of biomimicry. As noted in the group’s 2013 findings, researchers including MIT mechanical engineering professorGareth McKinley looked to organisms native to arid regions, like the Namib beetle (S. gracilipes), that are able to collect fog for hydration.