It’s no longer a secret that transporting food up into space is extremely costly. Also, growing it in orbit can be almost impossible and if it succeeds, it is very time-consuming. Everybody saw it, there have even been movies made about this. This is exactly the reason why scientists are now looking at ways to transform something that is already in orbit into food. As gross and weird as it may sound, they want to convert astronaut poop into something edible. Merely the thought of this might turn some stomachs upside down but the idea in and of itself is brilliant. If successful, it could even make all the difference between exploring the Universe and being forever stuck on Earth.
Thanks to a team from Pennsylvania State University, we now know that transforming poop into food might be the way to go. The researchers developed a way to use microbes in order to break down both solid and liquid waste very quickly. The idea is to minimize the chances of development when it comes t pathogens. The substance that is obtained after this process might then be used in space food.
A gross but brilliant method
According to geoscientist Christopher House, a member of the team, it may sound bizarre, but it is actually a very popular concept at play. People love Marmite and Vegemite, but they may not know that what they’re eating is “microbial goo”. The exact same concept would apply in the case of astronaut poo.
The entire system they used is very complex and in a way, imitates the natural process happening inside our guts. However, it can be compared with the compact filters inside a fish tank. They have the mission to remove fish waste from the water, cleaning it. And while they need to conduct more research to see if they can really take this process into space, the premise is encouraging.
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