Feeds

ISS re-wee tech triumph heralds golden showers in orbit

Astronauts to live on processed space rat piss

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated a significant technology milestone yesterday, as the station's buggy quarter-billion-dollar urine recycler was finally declared fully operational. Jubilant, thirsty space explorers quaffed refreshing draughts of "yesterday's coffee" and cracked ribtickling jokes with ground controllers.

The NASA urine recycler in ground testing

A quarter of a billion dollars quite literally pissed away.

"We have completely checked out the system from end to end," NASA life-support chief Marybeth Edeen told Space.com.

Astronaut Don Pettit, who has himself struggled to repair the station's defective re-wee equipment during a visit aboard the shuttle Endeavour last year, exchanged toasts with the current ISS crew from Houston.

"We're getting ready to toast with some of yesterday's coffee with you guys," he said, according to Space.com.

Quick as a flash, chortling drinkers on the station replied.

"We're going to be drinking yesterday's coffee frequently up here, and happy to do it," said mission-specialist and flight surgeon Dr Mike Barratt.

Barratt, Koichi Wakata of the Japanese astronaut corps and station commander cosmonaut Gennady Padalka then "clinked" plastic bags of self-sourced refreshments before quaffing hearty swigs.

According to the report, the station's urine harvesting gear is now running smoothly, reprocessing sweat from the air and liquid from the lavatories into potable water used for drinking, cooking, oxygen generation through electrolysis and "bathing".

Regarding that last, there is a zero-G shower stall on the ISS - now presumably to be renamed "Golden" - although it seems that actually most astronauts prefer to take sponge baths, showering in microgravity being a troublesome procedure. (You have to wear a breathing rig to avoid inhalation of floating water droplets and choking; and it's the devil's business trying to get the water first onto yourself, and then off again afterwards.)

In any case, everyone at NASA and the other ISS space agencies is, erm, bathed in gratification at the piss-processing triumph. The station is shortly to man up to six-person crews instead of just three, and at the same time it will soon lose the chance to top off its water tanks from visiting space shuttles. The shuttles produce useful quantities of water as exhaust products from their fuel-cell powered electrical systems: this isn't the case with the Russian and European supply capsules which will sustain the ISS after the shuttles retire.

"It was wonderful," an emotional Edeen told Space.com following the ceremonial quaffage. "It really is the culmination of maybe a decade of work to make this happen." ®

Bootnote

Not only will ISS astronauts be drinking their own and their crewmates' recycled sweat, breath-moisture and urine - they'll also be drinking rat piss. Seriously: according to NASA, even the experimental animals aboard the station will have their waste liquid recovered.

"A full complement of 72 rats would equal about one human in terms of water reclamation," says the space agency's Layne Carter. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.