Finding pees a waste product? It’s high time to rethink as the US-based space agency NASA has found the human urine to be a potential solution to solve the long-standing concerns over human survival on the Martian atmosphere.
The premier space agency of the world – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA is gearing up to send human beings to the Red Planet by 2030. While preparations for this farthest manned space expedition have been going on swiftly, one of the major concerns that have been putting the vision of this journey on the back burner is the possibility of human survival in the hostile Martian atmosphere. As there will be limited cargoes on the Martian spacecraft, it can easily give rise to the inconvenience during the exploration on the red planet and eventually put the survival of the astronauts on the planet at higher risks.
However, the issue is going to be solved very soon, as NASA has found out the possible element which may help human crews to sustain on the Red Planet for a longer time. As claimed by NASA in its latest official edition, a team of researchers has found out a potential solution to this long-standing concern and that solution is ‘Human Urine’. Well, it may surprise you; but if you remember, the NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer from the International Space Station (ISS) had earlier detected a way to convert human urine into the clean and potable water which they mentioned during their discussion with American president Donald Trump.
Now a team of researchers from NASA, led by Mark Blenner has managed to developed a first-of-its-kind yeast that is capable of utilizing the valuable biological elements present in human urine including Nitrogen and also the emitted Carbon from the breathing process of an astronaut for creating plastic, which eventually can be employed for developing valuable tools. As claimed by the team, by using the methods of the 3D printing process, the urine-converted plastic can be employed for creating tools which later can be helpful for astronomers to sustain on the Red Planet.
According to Mark Blenner, lead researcher on the new project from the Clemson University in South Carolina, “The yeast called Yarrowia lipolytica can feed on Nitrogen, collected from human urine and the Carbon emitted by the astronauts during the exhaling process and can be engineered either for generating polyester polymers for printing plastic parts through 3D printing process or for creating omega-3 fatty acids, which later can be employed for nutritional applications and purposes.
As the leader of the project added, if the Mars exploration mission is going to last for a longer period of time; then recyclability and reusability will play a crucial role. For making a sustainable position on the distant planets for the astronomers, Atom economy will play the most pivotal role.