NASA is famous for taking advantage of the best innovations this country can offer: Tang ... Teflon ... space pens ... and, um, artificial vomit? The space agency's latest "Behind the Scenes" video, narrated by spacewalker/comedian Mike Massimino, focuses on research being conducted on space trash bags at Johnson Space Center's Advanced Water Recovery Systems Development Facility. These bags have to stand up to everything that astronauts on future space missions need to get rid of. That includes food scraps, dirty astronaut diapers ... and the occasional outcome of space sickness.
As I mentioned last week, about half of all astronauts get the final frontier's version of motion sickness in zero gravity. So it's virtually guaranteed that some barf bags will be going into the trash. NASA researchers want to test their prototype garbage bags in the laboratory, but they don't necessarily want to deal with the real gnarly stuff. Hence the artificial vomit.
The recipe includes cottage cheese, tomato soup, apple juice, soy sauce and frozen mixed vegetables. But it takes a whole team of white-coated NASA researchers to perfect the consistency and the smell. At one point in the video, Massimino asks the lab workers whether they ever thought they'd be mixing up vomit for a living. Chemist Nik Adam shakes his head no. "We normally deal with urine here in this laboratory," he says. Godspeed, Nik Adam.
More about life in space:
- How to use a space toilet, NASA-style
- More from Richard Garriott about space toilets
- Going to Mars? It'll be one wild trip
- How not to be a space slob
- How to stay healthy in space
- How to have sex in space