Why do NASA astronauts drink Russian pee on the International Space Station?

[USA] The question of how to find a sustainable water source in space has been answered with bodily fluids – but the Russians don’t like it.

Think you could drink recycled wee if it meant you would stay alive?

That’s the question astronauts have to answer before they go onto the International Space Station for a tour of duty.

But while Nasa’s people are happily gulping back wee-that-once-was, cosmonauts have chosen to go another way.

Long-term space travel will always be dependent on water and food and its availability.

But on the ISS, where personnel are expected to stay for months at a time, the ways of accessing water for drinking are from condensation and excretion as urine.

Both US and Russian of the space station harvest their water out of the air, which is known as condensate, and comes from breath and sweat.

But where Russia are not happy about throwing urine into the mix, Nasa have no qualms, even using Russian wee alongside American.

Recycling system creates clean water on space station
Recycling system creates clean water on space station

Layne Carter, who manages the ISS water system for NASA, told Bloomberg: “We collect it in bags, and then the crew hauls it over to the US side [of the ISS].

“We don’t do 100% of the Russian urine. It depends on our time availability.”

“It tastes like bottled water as long as you can psychologically get past the point that it’s recycled urine and condensate that comes out of the air.”

The use of iodine to treat the water is not an ideal process, but it’s something that is bound to be worked on in the future, because the system could be essential to make a long-term mission to Mars viable.

Not to mention to head off any possible future water shortage here on Earth.

 

Photo: Wee break: Astronauts on board Atlantis toast with purified water

View original article at: Why do NASA astronauts drink Russian pee on the International Space Station?

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