Although it might not sound like the coolest or the most appetizing of thoughts, but astronauts might have to eat their own feces. A team of NASA scientists might have found a way to solve the food shortage issue posed by prolonged space trips – a chemical process that turns human feces into completely edible food.
Can You Really Eat Your Own Poo?
No, this is the not the point of debate for the next Jackass movie, but very serious questions raised by a team of NASA scientists. While the race to reach the Red planet goes merely on, scientists are struggling to solve problems on the go.
And it would seem they’ve pretty much figured how to feed astronauts on long space missions. Previous attempts of growing food in hydroponics bay proved to be costly in terms of resources and manpower, two things on which depend the success of the mission.
So, the scientists turned their attention to the only other regenerable resource in space, apart from solar energy: human feces. Remember that scene from The Martian when Wattney tried to grow potatoes using his own poo as fertilizer?
Mark A. Blenner, Ph.D. and one of the scientists involved in the project explained that human dejections could be used to create nutritious and edible food. The process itself is quite interesting – after breaking down the feces into their solid and liquid components, the team fed them to something called a microbial reactor.
The device transformed the waste into biomass composed of 36 percent fats and 52 percent proteins. To give you an idea of what this biomass looks like, Blenner described the end product as being very similar to Vegemite or Marmite.
Will astronauts eat their own poop in the upcoming space mission? Probably, but the process has yet to become standard food conservation procedure.
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