The Big Gulp

“NASA pisses away millions hauling H2O into orbit. But there’s a better way – recycle astronaut urine. Just one question: How does it taste?”

Ff_82_urine_fTom McNichol in Wired:

People head to Reno for all sorts of reasons. Some want to gamble. Others are looking for a hasty wedding or quickie divorce. I’ve come to the Biggest Little City in the World to drink my own pee. Not straight up, of course. First, I’ll run it through a new NASA water purification system that collects astronaut sweat, moisture from respiration, drain water, and urine – and turns it all into drinking water.

NASA desperately needs this technology. Water makes for a heavy – and expensive – payload. Over the past five years, the agency has spent $60 million delivering potable water to the International Space Station on the space shuttle (6 tons at a cost of about $40,000 per gallon). Deploying the Water Recovery System on the ISS will cut the volume of water hauled into space by two-thirds and free up enough room on the shuttle for four more astronauts.

More here.