Converting astronaut poop to space power — the final frontier?
Photo: LIFE/James Vaughan
Astronauts live pretty bizarre lives: chillin’ in zero gravity, drinking Tang, and having their poop freeze-dried and now possibly eaten by bacteria to generate electricity.
At least that’s part of the 2011 space odyssey for the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is launching a $5 million satellite in the first half of 2011 to figure out the feasibility of this space oddity. The satellite will be carrying a crapload payload of a particular type of bacteria (Shewanella MR-1) that shows promise in converting feces into hydrogen, which could then be used to generate electricity in fuel cells on board space ships. The Florida Institute of Technology is behind this experiment bringing together sustainable energy and cosmic flatulence.
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