Hello all, there was some discussion about pee and poop in a recent episode so I thought a thread that breaks things down might be beneficial as its certainly NOT rocket science and actually can benefit our lives if handled properly err scientifically.
So for starters I think most of us already know that urine is recycled on the ISS.
However feces is not and that kind of struck me as a bit of a shame. Then again space is at a premium up there and the downside issues of handling human waste means that its simpler to just bag it up and dispose properly. That is the engineering solution.
However our waste has many uses, some of which are discussed here
Here in Japan where they don’t really have a shame culture around the human body or its waste, its known that in the past farmers used to charge rent to a room with 1 tenant. 2 tenants per room could stay rent free and 3 in a room actually got a small stipend from the farmer at the end of every period. Why you might ask ? The farmer was collecting the poo and putting it into the fields as fertilizer.
So there are many issues when dealing with human waste and how to treat it properly. The simple rule is to separate the physical from the liquid. Its why compost toilets have different holes for urine and feces. The poop is collected and allowed to dry out. Once it has had sufficient time to “dry out” it becomes very similar to garden quality fertilizer. There are a number of other difficulties regarding vectors for disease and the diet of the human poop we wish to re-purpose. In a dry place like California I’ve read that anywhere from 3 to 6 months is sufficient to turn poop into great garden stuff.
In space that probably isn’t an option, however it can be utilized in a number of ways as discussed in the article above. There are plenty of stories about it. Here is another one.
Vegetarian humans without disease can have their waste recycled without issue. Obviously thats just my opinion but the totality of human history pretty much confirms this statement to have merit although I suppose it could be challenged as an over-simplification. However its a message board and as such it functions as the town board and hopefully will garner some feedback.
/rant Since given our current meat production system isn’t a sustainable option for humanity over the long term, vegetarianism is clearly the better option. The meat production statement will not be backed up with data since anyone with google can find this to be true for the most part. Slaughtering animals for food is not only morally wrong but factory farming is toxic and the waste gases produced from the billions we kill annually is poisoning the air as well. /endrant
We are indeed what we eat. I would highly recommend anyone with interest in the subject check out Valter Longo or Peter Attia. Both are medical doctors.
Here is Doctor Longo’s diet Daily Longevity Diet - Valter Longo Foundation
In addition periodic fasting also improves the human condition. The scientific evidence is overwhelming here.
So I think we are looking at a number of issues that all point to the repurposing of feces in space as a primary tool for existing away from mother earth.
Although its slightly off topic from this subject, the total amount of plant material needed to close the human CO2/O2 cycle is known, although details such as trace elements and plants living in zero g have yet to be mastered. Clearly the future path to space involves humans valuing waste as life sustaining.
Its my first post here so I didn’t want to say anything too inflammatory, although I will admit that I couldn’t resist the temptation to flame meat eaters I myself eat some meat, although its mostly fish and occasionally chicken as both are farther down the food chain. I hope this inspires someone to post their feelings on the subject as I think this particular issue will go a LONG way towards humanity reaching our near term goals and buying enough time for newer tech that can bypass the chemical constraints that will enable us a species to become a multi solar system species.
Thanks for reading