Space crap


September 17, 2022

Space travel requires advanced technology to accomplish it, but recent scientific findings indicate that a basic biomaterial is only needed to facilitate such journey.

The material’s versatility is already proven on Earth, including in the fields of agriculture and energy. It is available anywhere and supply is unlimited.

Cetecioglu Gurol, an associate professor of industrial biotechnology at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, described the material as an alternative to fossil fuel-derived plastics, CNN reported. Gurol calls its spin-off as bioplastics, which can help prevent the pollution of oceans.

The professor explained that the conversion of the biomaterial to methane as an alternative fuel produces organic compounds that can be turned into bioplastics.

Aside from biodegradable plastic, the material’s by-product when burned can be recycled into bricks and cement, instead of being disposed. By turning the by-product or ash into alternative bricks and cement, the quarrying of clayish soil and limestone, the traditional ingredients of such construction materials, can be reduced, according to engineers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Other researchers in Italy and the United Kingdom said the ash also could be feasibly reused in making terra cotta tiles, flowerpots, tableware, glass-ceramics and other applications in the building industry.

For purposes of space travel, the biomaterial can be used in making polymers for spacecraft fuel production, according to Steve Sepka, project manager for the Trash Compaction and Processing System at the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in California.

The spacecraft crew themselves, as the practical source of the material, can help sustain the propulsion of their spaceship beyond planets.

Moreover, the material can protect space travelers from high exposure to radiation during extended voyage.

Scientists explained that “the tightly packed atoms of hydrogen and oxygen” in its water content “offer a higher density of cosmic ray-blocking nuclei than metals do,” CNN reported. With that, it can serve as water compartments lining a space capsule for radiation shielding.

Of course, water extracted from human urine and feces are sterilized to eliminate germs and to be nose-friendly when they are used as wall components.

The repurposing of poop to power spacecraft and protect astronauts would go a long way in sustaining space exploration.

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