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Astroplastic: Making tools from human feces could aid space travel

A University of Calgary team has flushed the competition with a project that sets out to convert astronaut poop into handy tools, while also cutting down on flying bags of feces masquerading as shooting stars.

Their winning project was called Astroplastic: From Colon to Colony. “There’s a huge issue with transporting materials to Mars. How do you account for everything astronauts might need over three years? Waste Screen Shot at PMmanagement is another huge issue and we thought maybe we will address both of those,” [researcher Alina] Kunitskaya told The Homestretch.

“We modified the DNA of an E. coli bacteria so that it would take acids out of the human poop and actually build a plastic out of it and then spit that plastic out so that we can use it to make tools.” The plastic is used by a 3D printer to create tools such as a wrench or screwdriver. They didn’t actually use human feces but in the process learned that NASA has an official recipe for fake poop, which includes yeast, cellulose, peanut oil and miso paste.

Kunitskaya says if they can swap fake poop for real poop, it could save valuable room on the spacecraft and reduce the need to dispose of solid waste, which is currently just tossed out.

Read full, original post: Tools made of astronaut poop could solve space problems, as U of C project flushes competition in Boston

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