back to article NASA enlists schoolkids in Moonbase piss-recycler push

NASA has announced a competition for US schoolchildren, in which nippers across the nation will build urine-recycling systems for use in future Moon colonies. The space agency will helpfully furnish instructions for creating a "simulated waste stream" from common household ingredients. NASA's poster advertising the lunar water …


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  1. eJ2095

    Got to say it!!!

    I think NASA are "Taking the pi$$"

    Will get my coat!!

    Have a good weekend all!!

  2. Candy

    Spending a penny?

    Now, that's what I call splashing out...

    No mention of what they are to do with their enormous deposits, though?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    oh kay then

    ok a team of scientists with degrees and stuff have a budget of millions and cant develop something so nasa asks grade 5-8 (age 9-13) kids to do it in a school lab with a budget of < $20. if i was nasa i would have my head in my hands, they could have asked the world and got people that actually knew what they were doing on the problem. if a solution is found by someone that dosent have a background in this kinda thing or know anyone that can help and NASA produces it then i will eat my own hat.

  4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    What would I do?

    I'd send a robot instead. There's a 2.5 second round-trip delay involved in remotely controlling a robot at that distance, but unless you want to juggle moon rocks that's really not going to be a problem. You also don't need to send any rocket fuel for the return trip, you don't need to pressurize the living quarters, etc etc...

  5. Dick Emery

    They need


    Sha'hulud. Uh!

  6. Hungry Sean

    re AC@15:45

    Way to miss the point. Obviously a bunch of young kids and teachers are unlikely to engineer a complete solution for waste recycling in a lunar environment.

    But, this sounds like it could be a really great project for getting kids excited about science and engineering while providing a lot of opportunities for them to learn real physics and chemistry. For example, a teacher might ask the class to suggest means of purifying the water-- obvious answers are boiling and filtering (chemical and mechanical). The teacher could talk about the temperature on the moon as well as the low pressure and how that might affect an approach based on boiling, as well as the fact that different substances boil at varying temperatures. How do they get energy (solar panels?). There's a lot of really cool stuff involved here. If this project helps teachers spice up their lessons and inspires some kids to go into the so-called STEM fields, I think NASA will have accomplished their goal here.

    Shame on you for being so bloody negative.

  7. Pablo

    @ AC (15:45)

    I suspect the real goal here may be more devious, and more important: Getting kids interested in science.

  8. WonkoTheSane Silver badge


    I thought they were going to mine it.

  9. Elmer Phud

    Back to normal

    Exporting/dumping our waste on the moon?

    That would explain the smell of pee in the space elevator, then.

  10. frank ly

    @Hungry Sean re. AC@15:45



    What I want to know is, who will own the IP rights to any successful kid-developed techniques?

    The NASA website currently makes no mention of ownership of any resulting novel solutions. Will the prize of an all expenses trip be legally equivalent to payment for rights ownership?

    The teachers had better get some friendly lawyers involved in the application and submission process.

  11. Joe Cooper


    "ok a team of scientists with degrees and stuff have a budget of millions and cant develop something so nasa asks grade 5-8 (age 9-13) kids to do it in a school lab with a budget of"

    Surely you noticed that they just made an actual, working water recycler that works in weightlessness?

    Something that works on the Moon is, in comparison, child's play. A bog standard recycler, not designed for space at all, would probably work fine.

    Its just a way to let the littler geeks join in the fun.

  12. Andus McCoatover

    What if??? (Blue Peter mode)

    ..The kids actually acheive something, like the CO filter emergency modification as in the Tom Hanks' movie "Apollo 13"?

    'Specially if the fuc*ker works...

    With nothing more, natch, than some sticky-back plastic, a detergent bottle and a roll of Izal (Medicated) bogroll. Take it to the ISS, and gaze in amazement at "Here's one we made earlier, for a quarter of a million bucks"

    'fraid the logo's name seems appropriate...

  13. Sureo

    One thought....

    Who's going to be the designated tester?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Everyone's missing the point...

    "If a one-liter bottle of water costs $20,000, what would you do?"

    Simple, drink beer.

    Always used to work when they couldn't get water pure enough for human consumption, just make beer and drink that.

    And everyone on here missed such an obvious solution.

    Alternative solution could be a long hose... which would have the added benefit that when the ice caps melt they'll be able to remove the excess water from the planet!

    See, I've thought of everything there.

  15. alien anthropologist
    Paris Hilton

    @AC 12:09

    AC wrote:

    "See, I've thought of everything there."

    And just how exactly do you get to enjoy a lap dance in a low g environment?

    Paris - as she knows g's belongs to strings.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    re simple minded dolt (AC)@15:45

    A VIP trip to the Kennedy space centre is a low price for getting a few million minds working on a task. (The getting kids interested point has already been made)

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Recycle?

    There are naturally occurring deposits of piss on the moon? Who knew?

  18. b166er

    @frank ly

    I Pee rights, nice!

    Why not a solar still?

  19. JustMathew


    So the proposed test solution contains household ammonia and they will test the drinkability how exactly?

    Mine's the one with the gallon of milk in the pocket to dilute the ammonia in the poor kiddies tummies...

  20. Steve X

    12 tonnes?

    So just how many astronauts pissing for how many months does it take to get 12 tonnes of urine? And will the (P)ISS still be in use by then?

    VASIMR rocket on an ice asteroid, anyone?

  21. Swarthy

    @ b166er

    Solar is iffy - fortnight-long dark periods and all of that. however, a vacuum still might work. little/no power needed, just reduce the pressure until the water evaporates, and then re-pressurize to condense it.

    Go Icon, 'cause I gotta....

  22. Richard 102


    Designated tester? Why, make it a reality TV contest!

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