NASA Sends Plumbers to the ISS So Astronauts Can Drink Their Own Pee

A much-needed second toilet is on its way to the International Space Station, but that's not all, not nearly. NASA is.gifting the crew with a new waste recycling system, which will be able to reclaim 'used' water. In other words, it will process astronauts' urine and return it to the station's water supply to, as one of the current inhabitants of the stations cheerily put it, "take yesterday's coffee and make it into today's coffee."

Waste reclamation systems aren't new, but usually operate on a much larger scale (sorry Payson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA). They'll be a vital component of any long-term human forays into space, including trips to other planets, which might cause "Astronaut" to cede its lead in the "What Children Want to Be When They Grow Up" race to "Cowboy" or "Dinosaur", both of which generally require minimal urine intake. Of course, there is a beverage-related silver lining: a new refrigerator, which will the the ISS's first. The new equipment will launch with the Endeavor in about an hour. [NYT]

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