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Astronauts Can Made Useful Tools In 3D Print From Their Own Recycling Waste.
Apr 10, 2018

At the university of Calgary researchers recently conducted a study has found a new way to solve the problem of two different, the two problems are often plagued astronauts long-term space exploration mission.Mayi arcellana-panlio and her colleagues have developed a way to treat human waste in a hygienic way, which is also useful for providing equipment and supplies.Using specific genetic engineering enzymes, the excrement can be converted into special bioplastics, which can then be used as 3D printing materials to make new items when necessary.


Finding ways to dispose of waste has long been a problem in space travel because of the limited availability of water.Space exploration project involved and the high cost of logistics means can take absolute minimum supply, because of the slight increase in weight may mean a huge increase in fuel is necessary for propulsion vehicles into orbit.The Calgary researchers project can provide solutions to both problems at the same time.As we have previously reported, 3D printing is seen as a solution to reduce the number of required devices, and now 3D printed materials may become more accessible.

As part of the study, the team consulting a lot of space industry professionals, including Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk and Dr Chris Hadfield, colonel Matthew Bamsey Dr (the German aerospace center chief engineer) system and Pascal Dr Lee (the principal the NASA Ames research center Haughton - Mars project investigator and co-founder of the Mars institute).


Most of the spacecraft's toilets are similar to aircraft, and the vacuum tubes carry the waste safely and cleanly into the tank.The researchers recommend that additional bacteria be introduced into the tank and that their chemical behavior is specifically selected through genetic engineering.The bacteria break up the waste into more material, one of which will be recycled as a 3D printed material.

After being pumped into the tank, the first phase of fermentation occurs naturally.Natural gut bacteria can break down waste to produce substances called volatile fatty acids (VFA).The VFA is then extracted into another tank where intervention can be performed to produce the final desired product.

The researchers used e. coli bacteria to identify the exact genes responsible for the secretion of the required substances called hydroxybutyrate (PHB).The modified bacteria, which were then tweaked to produce a large number of PHB genes, were implanted in the second tank of the VFA.This VFA is naturally fermented from the original human excrement.


The logistics of VFA is continuously fermented under anaerobic conditions.Continuous fermentation can be achieved by using a filter that separates the unused bacteria from the resulting PHB stream and recycles it back into the tank to further ferment the VFA.As for the phb-rich logistics, it is further filtered to separate out the water and then recycle the water back to the toilet at the start of the waste disposal system.

The remaining solid PHB is then dried for a period of time without further processing and can be used.Then PHB can be used in selective laser sintering (SLS) 3 d printer without the need for additional processing, and the high precision technology can be used to make in the long process of space travel may be required from all kinds of equipment and supplies.