Astronauts spend months on the International Space Station, where they’re forced to collect their waste and launch it into space. But a new discovery could have them putting their poo to good use in creating food.

The feces wouldn’t be directly used as food. Instead, microbes would digest it, releasing methane that could then feed another microbe, providing food for the astronauts who need it. The study’s authors compared it to foods like Marmite, which is a yeast extract that presents as a jelly-like substance.

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The world is getting excited about the prospect of astronauts on Mars. NASA estimates manned missions to the Red Planet could begin as early as the end of the next decade, with the Orion spacecraft gearing up for the mission.

But many wonder what kind of astronauts it would take to make such a trip. The journey to Mars would be a much larger commitment than the trip to the moon, taking months rather than days. The trip might require astronauts who meet a special set of psychological requirements in addition to the usual required scientific knowledge.

Two retired astronauts recently gave their thoughts on what a trip to Mars would entail. Both astronauts spent months aboard the International Space Station and know what it’s like to live in confined quarters with other people.

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Astronauts spend months on the International Space Station, living without access to the many conveniences we have here on Earth. But whether in space or on the ground, humans have a need to eliminate waste. A recent infographic released by NASA reveals that the 180 pounds of feces eliminated by an astronaut in a year is pushed into the atmosphere, where it burns up and gives off the appearance of shooting stars.

The information is a study into what astronaut Scott Kelly will go through in just one year in space. In addition to producing shooting stars, Kelly will also consume 730 liters of recycled urine and sweat while on the Space Station. To keep his muscles active, Kelly will log 648 miles on a specially-built treadmill and spend more than 700 hours exercising.

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