Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2007 Science
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NASA Buys Russian Hi-tech Toilet That Turns Urine Into Drinking Water

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NASA specialists buy Russian space toilet for $ 19 million that can even turn urine into drinking water.

The new toilet is going to be available for the crew on the International Space Station. The toilet that looks just like a common toilet will be introduced in 2008 and will provide the necessary facilities astronauts require in space. This is important for the crew that will be expanded to six members in 2009.

Currently, there are three members of the space crew and one toilet. Although the cost of the exclusive toilet, manufactured by RSC Energia, in Korolev, Russia, is quite high, the development of such toilets will be much expensive.

The new toilet is designed to filter urine into drinkable water. Since water supplies are problematic to deliver in space, many astronauts have to deal without a lot of fresh water. For example, they use edible toothpaste and no-rinse shampoo to save water. Even with the 450 litres of water delivered every few months, the space crew requires much more for such a long period they spend in space.

The filtering system that was introduced into space toilets processes urine into drinking water removing non-water molecules, including organic urine waste, through a variety of filtering layers. Filtered mass is then separated from the water and brought back to Earth. Specialists claim the new system is very effective and tried to provide astronauts with water.

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