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Articles by Ashley Braun

Ashley Braun is Grist's News Producer and (unofficially) its Official Puntificator. She's also a science nerd, a lazy runner, an organic container gardener, and an accidental "expert" on topics like cross-country relationships and social media.

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Yeah, I know you don’t have to do #2 right now, dude. But the space ship robots say we’re low on fuel, so …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.

If this shatellite‘s bacteria doo-doo a stellar job in space, maybe they could help deflate the emissions associated with space tourism?

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