Nasa seeking 30 litres of urine a day for space tests
Wednesday 16 July 2008
The company charged with building a space capsule that will take America's astronauts back to the moon has made an urgent appeal - for urine.
The firm, Hamilton Sundstrand, is seeking the urine from employees at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, as part of work on the new Orion space capsule, according to an internal memo posted on the website Nasawatch.com.
The need is voluminous: 30 litres a day, even on weekends.
Designers of the Orion, which will park unoccupied in space for up to six months while astronauts work on the moon, have to solve a pressing issue of getting rid of stored urine, said John Lewis, Nasa's head of life support systems for Orion.
"Urine is a mess because urine is full of solids," Mr Lewis said.
Those solids clog the venting system for dumping urine, so keeping the waste disposal system clear is "really a challenge," he said.
Nasa has a long-standing tradition of collecting samples from its workers to help design better space toilets because "you can't make fake urine," Mr Lewis said.
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