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sharpiefan
01-30-2018, 04:31 PM
Scientists Are Figuring Out How to Get Astronauts to Eat Their Own Poop (ARTICLE LINK) (https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-working-to-turn-astronaut-poop-into-food)



Excerpt
Taking food up to space is costly, and growing food in orbit is difficult and time-consuming, which is why scientists are looking at the possibility of converting astronaut poop back into something edible.

The thought may make you want to reach for the sick bag, but such a scheme could mean the difference between exploring the Universe or being stuck on Earth we need to solve the problem of food on long-term space flights one way or another.

Now a team from Pennsylvania State University has come up with a way of using microbes to break down solid and liquid human waste very quickly, while minimising the chance of any pathogens developing. The substance that's left could be used in space food.

"It's a little strange, but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite where you're eating a smear of 'microbial goo'," explains one of the researchers, geoscientist Christopher House.

Using industry standard artificial poop yes, it exists the scientists combined it with a select number of microbes in a cylindrical system about 1.22 metres (4 feet) long.

That prompts a process called anaerobic digestion, similar to the one found in our own guts. The original pile of waste gets broken down with no oxygen needed.

But it was the next step that really put the new research ahead of processes we already use: taking nutrients out of the broken down waste and using a microbial reactor to grow a kind of foodstuff out of them.

The methane produced during anaerobic digestion was fed to another microbe, Methylococcus capsulatus, a bacterium already used by the industry to produce supplements or biomass for animal feed.

With 52 percent protein and 36 percent fats, the biomass produced with the methane-gobbling M. capsulatus could provide plenty of nutritional value for astronauts.


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birlinn
01-30-2018, 04:45 PM
A bit of dog DNA in their makeup should do it.
[Actually rabbits do this more than dogs]

John of Phoenix
01-30-2018, 04:50 PM
THAT'S IT. I'm withdrawing my application to the astronaut program!

Gib Etheridge
01-30-2018, 05:07 PM
We already do just about the same thing all the time. We place the poop in the compost where it breaks down and feeds the plants, then we eat the plants.

Keith Wilson
01-30-2018, 07:52 PM
Silly headline. The project is really to grow something edible using the poop to feed microorganisms.

skuthorp
01-30-2018, 07:59 PM
You mean unscrambling the egg but carrying the process a deal further?

sharpiefan
01-30-2018, 11:07 PM
Silly headline. The project is really to grow something edible using the poop to feed microorganisms.

I think Heinlein used something like that in some of his early interplanetary/pre-interstellar works.

CK 17
01-31-2018, 07:42 AM
Milwaukee has been doing this since 1926. Milorganite. https://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/what-is-milorganite