The crew of the final space shuttle mission aboard space shuttle Atlantis are reportedly testing out a new system designed to turn their urine into a sugary-flavored sports drink.
The system, which includes the use of forward osmosis in special bags that clean dirty liquids of things such as salts, starches, proteins, viruses, bacteria and parasites, is already used by soldiers. But this is the first time NASA has attempted to use the kits in space. Sugar flavor is then added to the liquid which (we hope) will make the drink more appetizing.
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One astronaut aboard Atlantis will be the first to test out this kit, though for the first run a dubious-sounding “experimental fluid” will be used, not urine. However, this won’t first be the first time astronauts have dabbled in, um, urine drinking. Wired reports that astronauts “aboard the International Space Station already drink water from a pee-recycling machine delivered several years ago.” Yet this new system won’t sap much-needed energy from the station like the old one did, because the bags use the aforementioned process of forward osmosis. (Science!)
So if you thought astronauts were courageous before when they were merely braving new frontiers, you might want to up your appreciation of them. We imagine it takes a special sort of bravery to drink recycled urine. (via Sydney Morning Herald)
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