In 2014 NASA successfully grew vegetables in space, they are now proposing to turn human waste into food.
NASA has awarded a $200,000 grant to Clemson University in South Carolina to look into one of the most critical challenges that NASA faces – how to feed astronauts for month to year long missions.
Led by synthetic biologist Mark Blenner, the project ‘Synthetic Biology for Recycling Human Waste into Food, Nutraceuticals and Materials: Closing the Loop for Long-Term Space Travel are researching how they can turn waste into not only food but also fertiliser, supplements and even plastics.
Although this may not be particularly appetising the benefits outweigh the negatives. Human waste according to Blenner “has a particular strain of yeast that can be genetically manipulated to create polymers, or plastics, used for 3D printing, as well as Omega 3s, which lower heart disease risk, and protect skin and hair,"
The research could have significant impact on how we sustain life in outer space, particularly as NASA proposes to land humans on Mars by 2030 – this technology would make food production on a planet with limited resources.
Photography & Styling by Bea Mandelstam