Potential Solution for Dealing with Human Waste in Space Travel

Researchers recently showed a rather unique solution to one of the more perplexing and unavoidable problems in long distance space travel: taking care of the human waste. According to their process, an astronaut could essentially create new tools or replace broken ones using a technology that converts exhaled carbon dioxide and other waste products into feasible chemicals. The researchers were to show the results of their study at ACS’s 254th National Meeting and Exposition.

Two Birds with One Stone, Space Travel Edition

PhD Mark Blenner stated that for astronauts to be able to conduct space exploration journeys for longer durations than what is currently possible, it is not just the travel technology that needs to be developed. There could potentially be a way recycle the human waste products into something that the astronauts can utilize. Some of the potential products for this process are spare parts for components. These are something that are more often than not, left behind due to weight issues. The cost of fuel and storage for the spare parts can end up being a significantly high cost that companies may not be able to afford. Blenner adds that in such as situation, an atom economy would be highly valuable. The solution offered by the researchers would thus, not only be a core answer to the spare parts problem, but also a more useful alternative to dumping astronaut waste into space.

Saving Every Molecule to Maximize Efficiency

A lot of astronauts could likely be interested in the atom economy that this technology could offer. They find a lot more value in saving every atom and molecule that what those on Earth would, making the repurposing of human waste a welcome idea. One of the key motivation factors for Blenner and the team was the idea of creating a biological system that can be toggled between active and dormant on command.