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Researchers Want to Use Urine to Produce Useful Tools in Space • Mirror Daily

Researchers want to use nitrogen from urine to manufacture polymers and other useful items

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It’s probably not unusual for you to hear that astronauts recycle their urine into drinking water on the International Space Station. However, it might turn out even more useful. Researchers are currently looking for ways to use urine to create tools or any other items which could be helpful in space.

Using urine to manufacture tools

A team of researchers from Clemson University are currently looking for possible ways to use yeast as a tool to convert nitrogen and carbon dioxide into polymers or other nurturing substances. Nitrogen should be taken from the astronauts’ urine, while carbon dioxide is provided by their breath. There already exists a genetically engineered strain of yeast which can produce polyester polymers. Then, these materials can be used in the making of tools or other useful items.

Astronauts usually go on space trips which last for several years. Therefore, it is quite important to find a way to recycle materials and make use of everything they have at hand. Mark A. Blenner, one of the scientists and professor at Clemson, thinks nothing should be thrown away.

“Atom economy will become really important.”

Yeast can be a great recycling system in space

The unusual use of urine in space, as well as all the findings regarding the capabilities of yeast have been presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The society also recorded a video in which they explained how algae and yeast could be used as efficient recycling methods on spacecrafts.

The purpose of the scientists is to use a biological system as a recycling method. This system should be awakened from a dormant state, and then used to serve whatever purposes astronauts need it for, whenever they need it. Providing astronauts with whatever tools they need at any given moment also offers a great future for space exploration.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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