Scientists explore using astronaut poop to make space food

From Engadget - January 30, 2018

Disgusting? Well, the team's technique does not exactly turn the feces itself into food. Instead, it uses microbes to break down solid and liquid human waste with anaerobic digestion, a process that does not consume precious oxygen, similar to what happens inside our stomach when we eat. During digestion, the fecal material produces methane, which is then fed to bacteria (Methylococcus capsulatus) naturally found in soil and already used to make animal pellets using a microbial reactor.

When the researchers tested their technique using artificial poop, the end result was biomass that's 52 percent protein and 36 percent fats. That's what future spacefarers would eat -- and what Mark Watney probably would have used as dip for his potatoes if he just had the equipment. Team leader and Penn State professor Christopher House admits that "[i]t's a little strange," but it's like "Marmite or Vegemite where you are eating a smear of amicrobial goo.'" We will bet space-poop goo is also an acquired taste.


Continue reading at Engadget »