Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Paucity of Pee.

"Valuable" is not the first adjective that comes to mind when prompted to describe urine, but the stuff is in high demand at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Developers of the Orion Space Capsule are working on a new-and-improved space toilet. Reliability is essential, as the Orion will remain stationed in unoccupied space for up to 6 months while scientists are busy working on the moon.

More specifically, scientists are trying to figure out how to the solve the difficult problems of urine acidity and elimination of stored urine. Naturally, they need authentic samples to ensure optimal design. About 8 gallons a day, 7 days a week's worth of urine is need.

Obtaining copious amounts of pee is apparently not easy. NASA recently sent out an internal memo asking workers to do their part for space toilet technology, by giving daily contributions of urine from July 21 to 31.

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