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Astronauts' pee to get recycled into clean water

Washington: In between the news about water on Mars, clues of life on Jupiter or new stars being formed at our galaxy's edge, there is a less glamorous side of space exploration: what to do

IANS [ Updated: April 10, 2014 14:12 IST ]
astronauts pee to get recycled into clean water
astronauts pee to get recycled into clean water

Washington: In between the news about water on Mars, clues of life on Jupiter or new stars being formed at our galaxy's edge, there is a less glamorous side of space exploration: what to do with astronauts' urine!


Human waste on long-term journeys into space makes up about half of the mission's total waste.

Recycling it is critical to keeping a clean environment for astronauts.

Rather than ejecting astronauts' pee into space, scientists are now developing a new technique that can turn this waste burden into a boon by converting it into fuel and much-needed drinking water.

"When onboard water supplies run low, treated urine can become a source of essential drinking water, which would otherwise have to be delivered from earth at a tremendous cost," explained NASA researcher Eduardo Nicolau.

Previous research has shown that a wastewater treatment process called forward osmosis in combination with a fuel cell can generate power.

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