Ever harbored the dream to become an astronaut when you were younger? Well, this news may be enough to rid you of any fantasies regarding outer space. Scientists now have a way of converting human waste into a potential food source that could be used by astronauts on missions to Mars and beyond. Using microbes to break down solid and liquid waste, they created the protein and fat-rich substance.
“We envisioned and tested the concept of simultaneously treating astronauts’ waste with microbes while producing a biomass that is edible either directly or indirectly, depending on safety concerns,” said Professor Christopher House.
The microbe researcher at Pennsylvania State University added: “It’s a little strange, but the concept would be a little bit like Marmite or Vegemite, where you’re eating a smear of ‘microbial goo.’”
“Anaerobic digestion is something we use frequently on Earth for treating waste,” said Professor House. “What was novel about our work was taking the nutrients out of that stream and intentionally putting them into a microbial reactor to grow food.”
This new method is effective in creating a new food source, “That’s why this might have potential for future space flight,” said Professor House. “It’s faster than growing tomatoes or potatoes.” So, if Martian had been made now, then Matt Damon would have probably just eaten his own poo instead of growing potatoes.