Microbes Could Turn Human Waste Into Food For Astronauts

rgMekanic

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May 13, 2013
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Scientists have apparently developed a method of converting human waste into a potential food source that could be used by astronauts on missions to Mars and beyond. Using anaerobic digestion, microbes to break down solid and liquid waste, they created the protein and fat-rich substance.

Ew. I think if this becomes a thing you're going to see the number of kids wanting to be astronauts plummet. The original paper is available here. Enjoy your lunch.

The microbe researcher at Pennsylvania State University added: "It’s a little strange, but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite, where you’re eating a smear of ‘microbial goo."
 

cyclone3d

[H]F Junkie
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Aug 16, 2004
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Well, what do you think they use for fertilizer for plants?

You are already eating cow manure.

That being said, I would rather have a large garden to supplement the food sent along with the mission.

Me thinks that the microbial thing could end up turning out badly. What happens when the microbes mutate and turn into a Zombie creating microbe.. and then conjoins all the victims into a malevolent sentient microbial being?
 

Jza

Weaksauce
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Become an astronaut, no thanks. You can literally eat shit and die.
 
D

Deleted member 82943

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microbes, space...

makes the insult: "eat shit and die" have a whole different meaning
 

Burticus

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Yeah recycling urine back into drinking water is one thing. You can turn my poop into fertilzer, rocket fuel, etc but I'm not eating it.
 

Spartacus

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Apr 29, 2005
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All that schooling, hard work, probably military service, the competition to get accepted, etc.
Only to find out they are going to tell you to eat shit?

"Uhh.... negative ground control. The shit-food machine is broken, we'll have to just eat the Pop-Tarts and drink the Tang until we get back."

.
 

WhoMe

Gawd
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Basic principle of chemistry is the orgin of an element does not matter as long as it's pure. So if they can break it down to elements or simple molecules than say 3d print into food it doesn't matter. Much of what people eat was probably someone or something's shit in the past.
In many parts of the world they use human shit as a fertilizer, if it's been heat treated it's no problem...it when it's used raw it's a problem.
 

dandirk

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Basic principle of chemistry is the orgin of an element does not matter as long as it's pure. So if they can break it down to elements or simple molecules than say 3d print into food it doesn't matter. Much of what people eat was probably someone or something's shit in the past.
In many parts of the world they use human shit as a fertilizer, if it's been heat treated it's no problem...it when it's used raw it's a problem.
Heat treated? So Mexican IS good for you!
 

Jagger100

Supreme [H]ardness
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Oct 31, 2004
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It all get recycled eventually. e.g. Manure. You're eating shit now most likely. OTOH your own or even human shit is asking for trouble. There's a reason the food chain is a pyramid and not a circle. Mad Cow for one.
 

PaulP

Gawd
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Oct 31, 2016
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In actual use I think they would use this to supplement the pre-stored food, in other words, mix it in with other things. This really makes a lot of sense because, at least initially, there won't be room in spacecraft to have gardens large enough to process all the waste that even a small group of humans will produce over the time spans required to go to Mars.
 

WhoMe

Gawd
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Messages
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Heat treated? So Mexican IS good for you!
I draw the line at cannibalism...oh wait. Actually I had carne asada for breakfast, I live for Mexican and what I don't cook, I wash with chlorine (well not the stuff I grow inside like tomatoes (the only way to get good ones anymore) )-- unless the flies have been on them ;) .

And anyone thinking USA grown stuff is safe is kidding themselves. I've known migrant pickers, and guess what--often there are no bathrooms, guess where they pee and poop. At least the astronauts will have their stuff (hopefully) safely processed. Of course who knows what germs will mutate to in space.
 
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