NASA, which is bound and determined to turn its astronaut corps into a bunch of watersports enthusiasts, has hit another roadblock.
The hugely expensive ($250 million!) system on the space station that is supposed to magically make urine drinkable (or, we guess some fetishists might say, even more drinkable) has run into another roadblock.
There's too much calcium in the astronauts' piss -- probably because they're weightless -- and that's leading to clogs in the recycling system.
Reuters reports that NASA scientists were sure they had the problem licked, although Reuters didn't have the balls to use that specific language.
"Folks had good knowledge of the content of the urine going in, but the chemistry changes as it works through the processor are not always understood," said program scientist Julie Robinson. "There are a lot of parameters including urine calcium and pH (acidity) that everyone is looking at."
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"Folks had good knowledge of the content of the urine going in" is right up there with "A small step for man" in terms of NASA quotes, as far as we're concerned.
Scientists who get paid to do this are furiously studying the problem and hope to have some fixes ready when the next shuttle flies.
Not that it's all fun and games.
"We've learned a lot more about urine than we ever needed or wanted to know -- some of us anyway," station flight director David Korth told Reuters.