Long-term living in space, exploring distant lands has long been the dream of mankind. But one of the great obstacles to the conquest of the universe is the source of food.
That’s why the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is actively implementing a project to “recycle” human feces into food to provide astronauts for a long time.Specifically, they hope that what the astronauts have discharged will be returned to their own mouths after disposal. And of course, scientists won’t let astronauts eat their own feces directly.
Currently, the only spacecraft that can support astronauts to stay in space for a long time is the International Space Station (ISS). There, the cargo spaceship will visit regularly and carry the necessary items. However, since NASA ended the space shuttle project in 2011, the crew of astronauts living on the International Space Station (ISS) has had to depend on commercial carriers such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, as well as shipping programs of other countries.
But in reality, sending food and toiletries to space doesn’t always go smoothly, and when they return to Earth, these cargo ships will bring garbage from space, including including packed astronaut waste. Before being packaged, it will be stabilized by strong and acidic oxidants and will be dried, but the process is relatively complicated and expensive. And when you want to leave Earth’s orbit and go further into space, for example, close to Mars, the supply of food will become an extremely difficult problem.
It takes about nine months for astronauts to orbit Mars, which means resupplying food will also take a corresponding amount of time, but due to technical or financial constraints, It is likely that receiving supplies from Earth during this long journey will face many difficulties.
Therefore, NASA is always looking for ways to replace the traditional method of providing necessary food via transport ships. Therefore, the waste to be recycled to produce food in space flight has become extremely urgent. In addition to going to Mars, the magnitude of this work could aid as humans fly further into the solar system and even out of the solar system. In a study conducted by NASA-funded researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, scientists discovered two types of bacteria that can help humans complete the job of turning waste into “treasure.”
These two bacteria, one is responsible for producing methane and nitrogen gas from feces through anaerobic digestion and the other will again produce protein and fat from the rest. Eventually, the astronauts will eat food produced by these bacteria, which doesn’t taste too bad. This food possesses a pretty good nutritional ratio for the body of astronauts when it contains 52% protein and 36% fat.
In fact, this recycling is not a new problem, previously astronauts have used drinking water recycled from their own urine, but the most stressful problem is the psychology of the astronauts. astronaut, or imagine, what do you think when you pick up a piece of food, put it in your mouth, and eat it knowing that it’s made of your own poop?
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