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Friday, May 22, 2009

Perhaps we should call it the "International Still Suit"?

Thanks to a newly-tested and approved recycling system aboard the International Space Station, its long-term crews are now able to drink water recovered from urine, sweat and breath exhalation. It's the first time that water has been acquired and imbibed in space in such a manner.
The new system takes the combined urine of the crew from the toilet, moves it to a big tank, where the water is boiled off, and the vapor collected. The rest of contaminants - the yucky brine in the urine - is thrown away, said Marybeth Edeen, the space station's national lab manager who was in charge of the system.

The water vapor is mixed with water from air condensation, then it goes through filters, much like those put on home taps, Edeen said.

When six crew members are aboard it can make about six gallons from urine in about six hours, Edeen said.

The system sounds very much like the stillsuits worn by the Fremen in the Dune series of novels.

Wonder how long it'll be before some bold entrepreneur approaches NASA about selling drops of "authentic recycled astronaut urine" :-P