Astronauts to Experiment with a Sugary Energy Drink Made out of Urine
If you are in space, well you are limited on a lot of things. You can’t just jump into a car and drive to the grocery store when you want something. You cannot stock up the space shuttle with boxes of food and drinks. You won’t find a whole lot of room in the shuttle. So with that in mind astronauts have to be willing to do different things, and right now that includes drinking urine that has been converted into water or a new experimental sugar energy drink.
The idea is to make a fortified drink that provides hydration and nutrients from all sources available aboard a spacecraft, such as waste water and even urine. The method set for testing uses a process known as forward osmosis. “Forward osmosis is the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane,” explains Michael Flynn, research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “The membrane acts as a barrier that allows small molecules, such as water, to pass through while blocking larger molecules like salts, sugars, starches, proteins, viruses, bacteria and parasites.”
So through forward osmosis in a machine made out of bags and tubes, urine is recycled and then sweetened. For me that is a stretch, in the back of my head I would keep telling myself, “you’re drinking pee.” I guess in space you do what you have to do.
Who knows maybe in the far future that is what we will all have to do to keep from wasting water, we turn our urine into drinking water and energy drinks.