NASA plumbing rates skyrocket, as urine clogs space station recycling system.

A zenith view of the International Space Stati...

The million dollar clog.

Astronaut urine clogs space station water recycler |

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.

Understanding a zero-gravity environment is like pissing in the solar wind.

“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?
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9 Comments NASA plumbing rates skyrocket, as urine clogs space station recycling system.

  1. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    Interesting article, read it somewhere during the week.
    God i read way to much the human brain can only cope with 130.000 pics&words a day then it starts screwing up .lol
    I was very much interested in the article having myself probs with high calcium and no real answers why. It seems more and more North American men are having this prob ,due to our food intake and habits.
    With me it's probably related to a reumatoid artritis condition,(this is doc diagnose)maybe i should take a second opinion at Nasa?
    Have a nice day.
    Thanks for bringing the story.

  2. Bonehead

    Ha! As my cousin Tony says.."What a pissa!" I've heard that a flushing toilet in the earth's northern hemisphere spins clockwise, while it spins counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere (or something like that). Guess NASA has learned it doesn't spin at all in space.

  3. ReformingGeek

    "Poo and poo accessories" – I love it.

    Man poo clogs toilets.

    I never have to plunge. 😉

    I hope space dudes don't eat a lot of asparagus.

  4. Lauren

    J: Frankly, I think NASA is just spinning their wheels on this one. : )

    Reforming Geek: Maybe they drink asparagus with their Tang. Man poo in space could be the sequel to Space Balls.

  5. Mr. Stupid

    Just to be sure, if there was a recycling unit for each astronaut, they would be more confident. A public Toilet and a recycling unit doesn't give them the confidence to drink the water…:)
    Anyways, interesting article… lol

  6. Ryhen

    Do they also place their poo in the recycling system and eat what comes out afterwards?

    In contrast, toilet clogs are caused by a flotilla of poo and poo accessories. – Poo accessories? Can you cite examples? I've never heard of anything like this before. haha.

  7. Lauren

    Mr. S: Glad you liked it!

    Ryhen: I regard TP as a poo accessory in addition to medicated rectal pads. God! That's a buzz kill.

  8. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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