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Researchers have plans to effectively use biological waste released by astronauts

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The various efforts and breakthrough that scientists and researchers are putting in to protect the environment has resulted in various kinds of innovative concepts that utilizes practically anything and everything for recycling purposes. While we have seen and heard unique ways of how recycling is possible, what makes the attempt more interesting is that it makes us scratch our heads and think what is in store for the future. The recent headlines show something very interesting. Scientists and researchers are finding ways utilize human by product such as poop, urine and even sweat to create something useful.

The innovative method the ISS crew came up with

drinkable water by filtering sweat and urine

With one of the innovative methods that the crew of the ISS has come up with, it has become possible to obtain drinkable water by filtering sweat and urine. It looks like the no waste attitude is touching a new zone thanks to the effort of Clemson University’s assistant professor and bioengineer Mark Blenner. This innovative method is done by mixing bodily excretions with Yarrowia lipolytica, which is a new yeast strain.  The research conducted by Blenner will be presented in Washing DC during the 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

The thoughts shared by Blenner about this new plan

While sharing a few thoughts in an e-mail, Blenner stated that the reason why this combination was favored is due to the properties the combination had of making various products by combining the biological waste with water. Further on, he stated that the needs of different types of nitrogen could be attained through this combination since it consists of several sugars that have a robust metabolism. As the yeast  has high tolerance capacity, various products can easily be made with the help of different types of tools used for genetic engineering.

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A new and interesting crewmember

This new concept can in fact become a new crewmember for astronauts who go on space missions for a very long time. This is because this combination can be used to manufacture different kinds of beneficial products that they can use when they are out in space.  Along with that, even the different kinds of nutrients that are needed for the crew to stay fit during the mission can be generated on the spot instead of packaging them, which eventually has a chance to expire.

The use of 3D printing for further benefits

3D printer

Another important highlight of the information that was shared by Blenner was using the 3D-Printing technology. We all know that off late there is a buzz floating around about how 3D-Printing technology can be used in the future for various things. Well, the plans are to have a 3D printer on board so that useful tools or parts can be easily created on board. All the astronauts would need to is to feed the information into the printer to get the job easily done. This will not only save the time and energy but will also benefit spacecraft in the future since everything is available at the disposal.

There is still a long way to go

No doubt, this innovative idea does show a Ray of hope on the future missions of outer space, however there is still a long journey of research that has to be done before the supply of this innovative concept goes into a fully-fledged production and handed over to astronauts for their space journeys outside the orbit of the earth. The management of wasteful by products and their optimized production is still something that scientists have to figure out.

Apart from that, the testing phase of this innovative concept in outer space also needs to be conducted to understand how much more effective it can become and how useful it can really be. In continuation, Blenner also hinted on the fact that there were also plans pertaining to the use of this particular yeast as a testing phase which probably will be conducted in the International Space Station within a couple of years.

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