If I told you your shit could be converted into an edible “Vegemite-like” substance, I’d wager your first thought probably wouldn’t be ‘fuckin’ yum’. Welp, if you plan on doing any long-term space travel, you might have to get comfortable with the idea of eating poop.
Scientists have worked out how to break down solid and liquid human waste using microbes into what they call, “microbial goo”, which is high in fat and protein. While that sounds absolutely horrendous, it turns out these are essential qualities for food during long voyages.
Microbe researcher at the Pennsylvania State University, Professor Christopher House, says turning shit into food solves major problems for space travel – not having to bring food from earth saves valuable space and weight, and growing it on board requires a heap of water and energy.
“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,” he told The Independent.
“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’.”
Fuck yeah, I can’t wait to get some microbial goo derived from my ass into my gob. What a treat.
But in all seriousness, food is a major hurdle when it comes to getting ourselves to Mars and even beyond. The less weight we have to transport, the less rocket power we’ll need. If you’re brave enough to weather a huge space journey, I guess eating shitty goo is the least of your worries.
The process – which uses similar waste treatment methods in place now on earth – was published in the Life Sciences in Space Research journal. “Anaerobic digestion is something we use frequently on earth for treating waste,” Professor House said.
“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.”
If we continue to fuck up the planet beyond repair, I guess having to eat our own shit on the way to finding another home is a fitting form of karma.