The million dollar clog.
In the international space station, astronauts, as well as their back teeth, are floating due to a clog in the water recycling system. Since drilling a well in the space-time continuum wasn’t an option, NASA had no choice but to send urine back from whence it came and create a recycling system that turns urine into water instead of wine, the preferred drink of astronauts. And you thought it was Tang.
“We’ve learned a lot more about urine than we ever needed or wanted to know – some of us anyway,” said station flight director David Korth.
Scientists believe that the clog may have been caused by the high calcium content in the space dudes urine.
Back on earth, fat was the culprit of a recent clog that turned our kitchen sink into a Scottish bog. We never experienced a calcium threat before, as it is usually self-contained in milk dispensing receptacles. Urine spills, not calcium clogs, are the problem of the gravitationally-bound and have been known to wipe out entire bacteria colonies. In contrast, toilet clogs are caused by a flotilla of poo and poo accessories.
“Folks had good knowledge of the content of the urine going in, but the chemistry changes as it works through the processor are not always understood,” said program scientist Julie Robinson.
At its inception in November 2008, the urine recycler had been fully tested during a night of drinking at the local NASA watering hole, an uncorroborated rumor that I made up. The recycler functioned properly back then before being introduced to zero gravity and the astronauts to intergalactic drinking games that had them pissing faster than the urine to water conversion rate.
Your tax dollars at work.
Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are hoping to come up with a fix in time to fly replacement parts out on the shuttle Endeavour, which is scheduled for launch on February 7 on a construction mission.
What’s next urine recycled Mai Tais?
What’s your greatest fear about zero-gravity?