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.