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May 22, 2009

Astronauts enjoy recycled urine

Posted: 09:02 AM ET

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) tasted their own urine Wednesday - and NASA didn't even have to double-dog dare them.

Astronauts celebrated by "clinking" their drinking bags together in a traditional cheers before sipping water composed of recycled urine, sweat and atmospheric moisture. The cheers marked the initiation of a closed loop water recycling system aboard the ISS.

NASA claims each crew member creates about a gallon of water from urine every six hours, but the source water doesn't just come from the space station's human occupants. "Lab animals on the ISS breathe and urinate, too, and we plan to reclaim their waste products along with the crew's. A full complement of 72 rats would equal about one human in terms of water reclamation," Layne Carter, a water-processing specialist with NASA, said in a statement released by the space agency.

On NASA TV, Flight Engineer Mike Barrett confirmed "the taste is great," as another astronaut swam through the air catching floating bubbles of the recycled water. "This has been the stuff of science fiction," Barrett said on the program. "Everybody's talked about recycling water in a closed loop system, but nobody's ever done it before. Here we are today with the first round of recycled water."

Tom's Hardware is less enthusiastic about drinking the potent potable:

While it might sound completely gross to us, the water is probably cleaner than what we drink on earth. That being said, I’d rather take my chances with Earth water than drink the purified urine of a rat. Really.

Similar water purification technology was employed after the Asian tsunami in 2004, but with large scale use there is typically a much larger gap between urine and tap.

Would you be willing to drink reclaimed urine, or are you sticking to bottled water while Evian is available?

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Filed under: NASA • Space

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jym   May 22nd, 2009 10:21 am ET

I don't know why this is even news. Astronauts have been recycling urine and turning it into drinkable water for years. Did you guys honestly think they were getting all their water shipped from Earth?

Ellen   May 22nd, 2009 10:24 am ET

Since Earth's water supply is exactly the same as it has been for billions of years, we are all drinking recycled urine. There is no more and no less water on Earth than there has been forever – it's a closed loop system, too. What someone urinated thousands of years ago has been filtered down through the Earth, ending up in our water reservoirs, which we then purify and drink.

Robert Britt   May 22nd, 2009 10:25 am ET

I was a water purification specialist in the military. Purification has come a long way and that water is purer than most water consumed on the planet. Great to see the progress in the closed loop system. Another step taken toward space exploration.

Pookster   May 22nd, 2009 10:31 am ET

Drink up! ::gags:: I can see how it’s possible to obtain water from our waste products but if you gave me a drink baggie labeled “reclaimed urine” my brain would imagine a horrible taste and I would simply not want to drink this ‘water’ unless I was on a dessert island and dying of thirst. Then maybe…

But I think I’d try to separate salt from water first before drinking my pee

pwc9999   May 22nd, 2009 10:40 am ET

To quote Dana Carvey, "You can't piss into a Mr. Coffee and get taster's choice." A comedy bit he did on Waterworld where Kevin Costner's character urinates into a filter and drinks the byproduct.

Yuck!!! Pretty soon there will be Aquafina–enhanced with minerals and reclaimed urine.

Julie Skiro   May 22nd, 2009 10:42 am ET

I would try to stick with Evian, but if this is part of a going-green kind of thing, I would be "clinking" by bottle of recycled urine together with someone else anyday !

Ray   May 22nd, 2009 10:43 am ET

R. Kelly would probably enjoy this.......

Axel   May 22nd, 2009 10:45 am ET

Most major cities recycle waste water into drinking water, not nearly as efficiently as they are on ISS but they do it. In London for example, the drinking water is estimated to have gone through the biological cycle at least 13 times :)

William Giunta   May 22nd, 2009 10:46 am ET

GE has been making usable urine recovery devices for decades.

Captain Canada   May 22nd, 2009 10:47 am ET

If it was good enough for Mahatma Ghandi then I suppose it's good enough for the rest of us.

Stan   May 22nd, 2009 10:49 am ET

All hail the Dune series. We will all be desert rats one day as the planet slowly dries up. So cheers to Urine Beers. (Gross). The answer is yes. Anyone ever spell Evian backwards. Think that was an oversight?

Matt from Toronto, Canada   May 22nd, 2009 10:51 am ET

Yeah I totally would drink the recycled water. It is all part of being efficient, clean, eco-friendly and conservationist. Not to mention I'll do anything to feel like an astronaut! What a cool job, but I'm too tall to be an astronaut, I exceed the height limitations :(

I would definitely think a system like this should become standard all over the world so we stop destroying our water tables and our water sheds and we start taking better care of the Earth.

Jeff   May 22nd, 2009 10:54 am ET

I would have to assume the recycled urine is better purified than our purified tap water (which typically contains estrogen, anti-depressants, flouride, etc.). So yes, I would drink purified urine, though I'm sure I'd feel more comfortable not knowing that it came from one of only a few people. "Hey Bob, your pee tastes great today!"...feels a little uncomfortable.

jayh   May 22nd, 2009 10:57 am ET

H20 = H20
Plain and simple.

Sam   May 22nd, 2009 11:05 am ET

Did you not think it would be pertinent to the blog to explain how a water purification system works? Your basis for this piece seems to be "ew yuck". Could we perhaps treat the news with the professionalism that it deserves?

P.S. Voted for Obama. Ha!

Wes Finley-Price   May 22nd, 2009 11:06 am ET

@Sam The AP story has some good info on how the purification system works.

dore   May 22nd, 2009 11:16 am ET

water is water is water is water ...........

Ricky   May 22nd, 2009 11:17 am ET

How would it be green and save the planet when it uses a great deal of energy to produce? This is NOT green technology. It is needed only in special circumstances.

Kevin Costner has already mastered this type of recycling on the movie Waterworld anyway NASA is just now catching up :-)

bill   May 22nd, 2009 11:17 am ET

Disgusting. So what?
This is a story for the tabloids. The "greenies" have to be rejoicing.

Mike from Ridgewood, NJ   May 22nd, 2009 11:17 am ET

Pass the pee baby!

PK California   May 22nd, 2009 11:19 am ET


LJ   May 22nd, 2009 11:20 am ET

Now we need a smart person to develop a still-suit a la Dune. The military and private sector applications are numerous.

Aditya Adhikari   May 22nd, 2009 11:21 am ET

MWRDGC has been doing this on a very large scale with having world's largest water reclamation plant near Chicago, IL.

over 95% of the waste water we flush down the toilet or laundry or washing dishes or taking bath is returned to us as fresh water from our tap. Granted no sweat but it does include waste water from factories, restaurants, basically all businesses in the district.

California just started a Water Reclamation Plant of its own just last year.

Jane   May 22nd, 2009 11:21 am ET

This is probably the one thing that would make me hesitate if ever offered the chance to travel in space! As noted above, it's a concept I just cringe thinking about...

Ken Rounds   May 22nd, 2009 11:22 am ET

Here in the southern Arizona dessert
ANY water is life.

Michael D. Houst   May 22nd, 2009 11:22 am ET

Beats the heck out of drinking straight urine as many of the prisoners of war and those in death camps in WWII Germany had to do.

Fact of the matter is, gross and distastful as it seems, urine from a well-hydrated person can be drunk without adverse effect the first time through. You don't want to drink it more than that as the concentration of salts and other contaminates at that point will have a greater deterimental effect than the lack of water.

GG   May 22nd, 2009 11:25 am ET

How are they filtering for infectious diseases? That's my only concern. I really don't want to drink someone else's chlamydia or E.coli.

maverick   May 22nd, 2009 11:30 am ET

I drank recycled urine years ago in a water survival course at Homestead AFB.
As a last resort it works. Urine is sterile but it still takes water fromyour body to break down the urine to usable H2O.
Closed loop system is great as the system breaks it down so that the body can better utilize it.
Tastes great! Less Filling!

Molly   May 22nd, 2009 11:31 am ET

Sorry, Jim, you're wrong. The system has been in development on Earth, but even the Russians didn't drink any recycled urine or condensate.

Kayla   May 22nd, 2009 11:32 am ET

This is a fantastic idea. While not completely new, getting the word out to people might make people more accepting of the technology.

Erik   May 22nd, 2009 11:35 am ET

What a terribly misleading headline. The story says "Astronauts enjoy recycled urine", but the link on CNN's home page says "Space station crew tastes recycled urine ". It implies that the system is not working properly. Poor – Poor.

Jack   May 22nd, 2009 11:37 am ET

That will really make me want to seek employment in the Astronaut Corps!

jimmy   May 22nd, 2009 11:38 am ET

That is totally grose, won't they just get some recycled baby ruths while they are at it too....(for those of you who saw caddy shack)

maverick   May 22nd, 2009 11:41 am ET

Change the name from ISS: International Space Station to
PISS: People Inventing Space Soda

pistonhead   May 22nd, 2009 11:42 am ET

if one can spend a gazzilion $$ to blast megatonnes of weight to space ... i wonder the necessity of having to use recyled waste...this has bad aftertaste written all over it !

David   May 22nd, 2009 11:43 am ET

I think the significant thing about the article that a lot of people are missing is the fact that they're able to completely "close the loop with water." Simply meaning that ALL of the water from their bodies is being recycled, not just their urine. Obviously something that could only be accomplished in a small closed system like the ISS, but still very impressive.

pistonhead   May 22nd, 2009 11:45 am ET

behind scene footage: bluccck

William   May 22nd, 2009 11:47 am ET

What do you think your water is on earth its the urine etc of the people animals upstream just purified to a standard before it hits the water again on down to the next town.

Joe   May 22nd, 2009 11:48 am ET

I think this technology should be brought down to Earth and applied everywhere so that we have less $%&% polluting the environment.

John   May 22nd, 2009 11:49 am ET

In space you don't have a choice. Especially once we embark on longer journeys through space, and also once we begin colonization, we will need to have incredibly efficient closed water systems. Our methods of obtaining food will also have to be very efficient, but solid waste recycling would probably be of little to no benefit as the nutrients have been biologically extracted already.

Joyce Becker   May 22nd, 2009 11:49 am ET

I really don't think it was necessary for that headline. They have to do what they need to in space, but we don't need all of the gory details.

Bob   May 22nd, 2009 11:51 am ET

This is just wierd.
Astronauts are a very special breed.

Michael   May 22nd, 2009 11:54 am ET

Can't wait till its bottled and sold in cases.............What's the name gonna be??????? High Altitude P%@s?????

Daniel Back   May 22nd, 2009 11:54 am ET

i am in tyc in texas and would rather be in the worste prison in texas instead of drinking my own pee!!!!!!

Anthony Yochmann   May 22nd, 2009 12:00 pm ET

Let's be real. We are all drinking recycled urine, blood, and any other liquid that contains water every time we drink. Rivers and resevoirs aren't made from virgin water molecules. All that water has been around since the Earth was created. The real difference between what we drink from the tap and what the astronauts drink is the certain knowledge of the drinker regarding the prior immediate incarnation of the water. Besides, where do you think fish urinate?

Tony   May 22nd, 2009 12:07 pm ET

To the person that said we have the same amount of water on Earth as we have had since the beginning. We are constantly bombarded by meteor's and they contain some water on them in the form of ice. Each one adds a small amount of water as it enters our atmosphere each day.

GP   May 22nd, 2009 12:07 pm ET

All I can say is "thats nasty"

JasonDavid   May 22nd, 2009 12:10 pm ET

worse still.......the water table we use for drinking and consumption is a percolated water from not just urine...also sewage, rain and storm water runoffs that contain petroleum from roads, autos, pesticides, agri fertilzers, medical wastes containing all kinds of native and mutated germs, not to mention domestic and wild animal wastes ..... and most importantly the distilled (rain) water forces the process of percolation and dilution effective and safe enough for us to consume without much cause for health or taste hazard!! Enjoy your next drink.......welcome to the world of water...

Frank Hughes   May 22nd, 2009 12:10 pm ET

People being grossed out by the astronauts drinking urine is silly. Anyone who gets their city water from a river or a lake must know that they are drinking the urine from every human living upstream. It is being naturally recycled mostly but it is not completely clean. That is why your city water department uses lots of chlorine to sanitize it enough before you use it. And, of course, fish and animals in and around those waterways, urinate (and more) into that water too. The system on the Station produces higher quality and better tasting water than the average city water system.

Chris   May 22nd, 2009 12:11 pm ET

Tom's Hardware is an idiot. All "Earth water" is recycled in a closed-loop system. We drink water that might have bathed Cleopatra, or fallen as rain on a rice paddy in China. There is no such thing as "fresh" water.

Ron   May 22nd, 2009 12:13 pm ET

Astronauts are of a certain breed, so I am not surprised they were seemingly eager to check out the pee machine. It's not so gross to me considering the fact that I frequently eat at fast food restaurants. My only concern would be that the reclaimed water should be from my own urine. I wouldn't want to gasp at the taste of real pee in discovering the machine had malfunctioned.

MikeInOrlando   May 22nd, 2009 12:14 pm ET

Not a big deal at all. A sports energy drink or a like company will come along with "Lemonly Yellow", "Rip- roaring Red", "Green Goodness", "Grapey Grape" or "Blizzard Blue", etc. Add alittle salt, sugar and coloring in a fancy plastic 12 ounce bottle with a $2 price tag and the people will standing in line at the 7-11 or Piggley Wiggley to buy them up. Helps the economy, employment and takes care of the recylec urine so it's all good.

monique   May 22nd, 2009 12:14 pm ET

wow....thats disgusting im never drinking water again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!But...if thats all i had i would!

Andrew   May 22nd, 2009 12:15 pm ET

"There is no more and no less water on Earth than there has been forever – it’s a closed loop system, too."

This is not actually true. Moisture has been added slowly to the earth via impacts from small space debris. And on rare occations, leave earth from large impacts.

Robert   May 22nd, 2009 12:18 pm ET

I am sure they have a UV system that effectively kills all bacteria, maybe even and Ozonation system.
What I would worry about are the drugs another Astronaut might be taking like Thyroid medicine or something else along those lines.

norb   May 22nd, 2009 12:18 pm ET

This is news? Hell, where I work they call it iced tea in the cafeteria.

Gary Feilich   May 22nd, 2009 12:19 pm ET

Look, get it right! It is NOT recycled urine. You are simply drinking the water form the urine, something we on Earth do every day. That saying "there is nothing new under the sun" is so true. We and allanimals release a variety of wastes, and those wastes separate and the cfomponents get recycled in a variety of ways. When you eat a steak or a plant, you are eating compounds that contained atoms that were parts of other compounds for thousands of years. That carbon in that slice of bread could very well have been part of the carbon diocide molecule that Juilus Caesar exhaled thousands of years ago; before that, the carbon atom could have been part of dinosaur DNA. Disney had it right with the "Circle of Life".

dt   May 22nd, 2009 12:33 pm ET

Jym. I don't think you are right about that. I worked for NASA for years, and never heard that they had a closed-loop recycling system for DRINKING water. Yes, they mostly did ship water up with them or to the station on resupply shipments. However, I think they have extract water for other purposes, but it was never deemed safe to drink.

sherpahouse   May 22nd, 2009 12:37 pm ET

GG – Do you really believe that NASA would allow astronauts with an infectious disease such as chlamydia to venture into space?

andrew   May 22nd, 2009 12:38 pm ET

hey, why can't i get a CNN shirt of THIS headline?? not fair.

Allen   May 22nd, 2009 12:39 pm ET

No, no no no. That is the most disgusting thing you could drink. Unless it's the ONLY option available You could not pay me enough...actually you could pay me enough lol

Thirsty!   May 22nd, 2009 12:40 pm ET

Anyone for a bottle of Peeroni?

Timothy   May 22nd, 2009 12:41 pm ET

Of course, given the length of time life has existed on earth, all water on earth has probably been excreted as urine at some point in its history, so the 'yuck' factor is really a result of knowing exactly which animals (and humans) the water went through on the station before being reused as drinking water.

Systems Guy   May 22nd, 2009 12:43 pm ET

I'm sure it's clear and pure. What I wonder about if it contains antibiotics / narcotics that the Astronauts ingest like our water supply does???

Bubba   May 22nd, 2009 12:43 pm ET

What's the next goal? Turning feces into meatloaf?

Anna   May 22nd, 2009 12:43 pm ET

This is no biggy! We use feces as fertilizer, manure! Jello is made from gelatin = ground up bones. Food manufactuiring plants provide canned foods with plenty of roach feces, rat parts, etc, that we, as consumers, would be surprised to find out. H20=H20, however & wherever it comes from. this story really should not gross us out. Lets not be naive to the circle of life here. Oh, one more thought, when you sleep at night most people have swallowed bugs with their open mouths. Bug with feces and urine in them.....big whoop right? Won't kill us.

Bob B.   May 22nd, 2009 12:44 pm ET

Everyone does the same thing by drinking ground water or the water from our faucet (which is about 80% treated waste water). This is another example of taboid journalism. Do you see any articles about earth-bound Paris Hilton (or Perez Hilton) drinking urine?

Melissa Simpson   May 22nd, 2009 12:44 pm ET

Ellen is correct – all our water is recycled through its travels here on earth. Very succinct answer, Ellen, whoever you are.

Peetiebird   May 22nd, 2009 12:46 pm ET

Here's to you
And here's to me
If we should ever disagree
We'll settle it while drinking pee.

brace   May 22nd, 2009 12:46 pm ET

the thought of drinking that " water" is ARGHHHHHHHH.......but thats a very good inventions. kudios .

Rusty   May 22nd, 2009 12:46 pm ET

Makes a lot more sense than foolish earthlings paying $1.50+ for a landfill-clogging oil-depleting plastic bottle of city tap or river water that is merely filtered and wrapped in a fru-fru label that is made appealing by slick marketing geeks.

punch   May 22nd, 2009 12:47 pm ET

Sounds great,,, I suppose I would just add some lemon flavored Crystal light and drink up...

dan   May 22nd, 2009 12:49 pm ET

h2o = h2o
Though high tech, humans have been separating h2o molecules from mixed sources for ever, using low tech means.
By the way, you should never drink your own urine for survival, ever, it will load up your kidneys and dehydrate you.

Green   May 22nd, 2009 12:51 pm ET

I don't know how green this recycled water would be (because I imagine it would cost at least as much energy as purifying 'regular' water). but it'd be nice if someone can explain whether this recycling is being used on the space station way before news/media started publicizing it.

Zac   May 22nd, 2009 12:53 pm ET

I wouldn't mind drinking recycled urine, although I doubt everyone else in America would be as mature.

Bob Plested   May 22nd, 2009 12:53 pm ET

Many years ago I visited an open-house at Nasa's facility on the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabaman. One of the buildings, one where Nasa was developing this system, had a 5 gallon glass container in the first floor men's room asking for 'donations'. So that was my contribution to space exploration for the day.

Jason   May 22nd, 2009 12:57 pm ET

Budweiser has had a patent on the reverse process for decades...

Gene   May 22nd, 2009 12:58 pm ET

Water is water. What is the big deal? The earth is old enough that most of the water we drink has been cycled through just about any critter imaginable. It's like worrying about dinosaur ghosts.

Teri   May 22nd, 2009 12:58 pm ET

Green technology is allowing nature to purify water and man helping that process along as little as necessary, not constantly recycling the same water over and over through a system that requires who knows what to make it happen. I don't imagine this is "green" at all if you look at what is required to reprocess it back to pure water.

Otto   May 22nd, 2009 12:59 pm ET

Another monument to billions spent on manned space travel

1) Tang
2) Cheese Flavored Dog Food
3) A bag of moon rocks
4) Men and women with "The Right Stuff" drinking urine

Ray   May 22nd, 2009 1:00 pm ET

If you look at all the comments in here, it is obvious that most women will find it distastefull no pun intened, and won't drink it. But, us guys we probably bring it up to our nose, smell it, and then bottoms up. After all, it is just water something which is a commodity in space.

Lily Valdivia   May 22nd, 2009 1:02 pm ET

All I can say is "Ewwwwwwwww Yuck!"

Delfino   May 22nd, 2009 1:04 pm ET

i'll drink it bc its only water.

Smarty Pants   May 22nd, 2009 1:10 pm ET

if it wasn't distilled as does earth/mother nature does using the hydrologic cycle then it was done with some form of filter process which is vulnerable to microscopic viruses,bacteria,fungus,germs,etc.. A filter uses porous material (has tiny little holes) if if has holes things can get past those holes no matter how small the pores are. Just like the Flu virus or any virus... disease can adapt and evolve to fit and pass through any filter system! Hydrologic or distillation is the only guarantee of purity! Trust me... I know!

bob   May 22nd, 2009 1:12 pm ET

Several beer companies have been putting unfiltered piss water in their products for years. I am not sure what the big deal is.

EMB021761   May 22nd, 2009 1:12 pm ET

We have been drinking polluted then sanitized water for eons. The people of undevloped nations have been defacating and urinating in their water supplies for years.

Mike   May 22nd, 2009 1:17 pm ET

If I have to drink some one's recycled urine, I would like it to be from a heavy smoker, since I am a recent former smoker, cherry flavored please.

KP   May 22nd, 2009 1:18 pm ET

I think I would have needed the "triple" dog dare myself.

Loren in CA   May 22nd, 2009 1:25 pm ET

Intellectually, yeah...water *is* water, and the level of redundancy in the filtration/distillation process before they'd let these adventurers take a sip probably gives them something way better than most rainwater on Earth.

That doesn't stop me from going "yuck" when I read the headline, but if I were stuck up there and used to *far* worse inconveniences...yeah, I'd be willing to give it a reluctant try. Can't be worse than Bud Light, or leave a worse aftertaste than eight years of the Bush administration. ;)

And thanks to other commenters for the funnies! :)

Jeff   May 22nd, 2009 1:26 pm ET

I don't see why not, we are all drinking recycled whale urine out of the tap.

Chally   May 22nd, 2009 1:26 pm ET

"H2O is H2O", yeah with a little CH4N2O in it. I'm just being funny, but seriously....there's Pee in your water dear Liza.

Jeff   May 22nd, 2009 1:29 pm ET

To the guy worried about viruses getting through. Its relatively easy to zap those little guys with a UV lamp, just like they do in home aquarium set ups.

mariamaria   May 22nd, 2009 1:32 pm ET

for a "SciTech' blog this article was missing alot of the science and the technology about this process. i think that bit of informtion would be helpful in demystifying the "ew" factor about recycled urine and closed loop systems. This is a blog – try eductaing your readers.

Tori from Calgary   May 22nd, 2009 1:33 pm ET

What's the big deal? Urine is about 97% water in the first place, it's not like the urine has to be radically changed to become drinkable. A few years ago when those poor children were held hostage at the school in Beslan, they were forced to drink their own urine. If your survival depended on it, you would drink urine. Self – preservation will trump squeamishness anytime.

Caretaker1   May 22nd, 2009 1:36 pm ET

These are no news at all. If anybody can recall, in the book, the Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, the author had already conceived the idea of drinking our own urines, back in 1971, more than 30 years ago. He was really a visionary. So nobody has invented nothing new here. If you want somemore ideas from the future, I strongly recommend reading this book. Greetings from France

Tommy T.   May 22nd, 2009 1:36 pm ET

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion

It is by the juice of Safoo that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion


Jerry   May 22nd, 2009 1:36 pm ET

Let's clear up some things: (1) I work across the highway from NASA-Marshall, who built this thing–this is new technology; NASA has *not* had this for years; (2) This technology is important research and as fresh water on Earth becomes more scarce and expensive, it *will* be worth every dollar spent, and have important applications both in space and on Earth; (3) I have a degree in Water & Wastewater Management, and worked in both industrial and municipal treatment for several years–I would absolutely share a drink from this machine with anyone, anytime. *Especially* if I was right there watching the process and could see exactly what was going on. May as well get over the yuck factor, people, you could be drinking recycled water one day and darned glad to have it!

Marty   May 22nd, 2009 1:37 pm ET

A Gallon of urine produced by each every six hours? What are they drinking – beer?

vicsoir   May 22nd, 2009 1:37 pm ET

People around the world don't hesitate to frolic in swimming pools loaded with peoples' urine, or marinate in hot tubs that are bacteria ponds of sweat, urine, and fecal derivatives. Ahh.... the pleasures of being ignorant of the forces of nature attacking us every day. Have a nice day!

Spencer   May 22nd, 2009 1:38 pm ET

Every drop of waster ever consumed by humans is recycled urine. Its pathetic that so many people are so ignorant.

Good for them, now they need to reproduce it on an industrial scale.

Arthur   May 22nd, 2009 1:39 pm ET

I for one am thankfull that i can drink the pee that Jesus peed 2000 years ago!!!!!

rick   May 22nd, 2009 1:40 pm ET

I was lucky to be in the control center where we were able to share the event with the ISS crew. We all had a glass of recycled water that was made during the ground testing. It really does taste like really boring water, very plain.

John Cordogan   May 22nd, 2009 1:42 pm ET

When does urine become water? Often while swimming laps in my neighborhood pool I wonder just that. In that case I suppose dilution is the solution. Notwithstanding we probably ingest more urine in the swimming pool than we may want to know and my guess is that it is still urine.

randy   May 22nd, 2009 1:45 pm ET

god, how do they get the urine form the animals...that must be a fun job...jeez

David   May 22nd, 2009 1:46 pm ET

It's no worse than what we do here on earth. Many people don't know their regular tap water is treated from sewage. So it's really the same thing as far as the starting point.

Jim   May 22nd, 2009 1:46 pm ET

Every ounce of water anyone has ever swam in, drank, used in surgery or cleaned their dishes with is 100% recycled urine. True, the ISS is not getting a fresh supply of water everyday, but neither is Earth.

Dave   May 22nd, 2009 1:47 pm ET

What's surprising is that up till now the ISS has not relied on recylcling for water supply!

Yolanda   May 22nd, 2009 1:48 pm ET

Sorry guys but you couldn't pay me enough money to drink "Recycled Urine"! In this day and age and with all the space advancement, you would think they would come up with a solution or better said a "Scientific' way to take regular water !! Yuk! Urine not for me!!

Meat loaf   May 22nd, 2009 1:49 pm ET

Can they make Meat loaf out of .....oh never mind.

andrew   May 22nd, 2009 1:52 pm ET

If someone offered you 2 bags of the same water one labeled Aquafina in pretty packaging and one labeled Recycled Urine.. you would of couse take the packaged one even though it the same thing, funny how the human brain can't get past certain labels.

People in third world countries are drinking water that is a LOT less clean and has a LOT more junk in it, so I think this is a step in the right direction to start more space exploration as well as having better water systems here on earth.

Tracy   May 22nd, 2009 1:53 pm ET

Iced pee anyone?.. haha

c   May 22nd, 2009 1:55 pm ET

Not news. Let me know when they start to recycle and eat Poo...

Sean from Virginia   May 22nd, 2009 1:56 pm ET

The recycled urine on Earth is called Miller Light.....

supporter   May 22nd, 2009 1:57 pm ET

The important thing is it's another step towards being able to make long journeys in space. The closed loop system will allow the water to last longer requiring less to be carried. keep up the good work.

Ron   May 22nd, 2009 1:57 pm ET

This is nothing. I have watched people drink it out of cans for years. It's called Budweiser.

Roman Manlord   May 22nd, 2009 1:58 pm ET

I'm drinking my urine right now..I think it's mine. I wish I had a purifier.

kg   May 22nd, 2009 2:02 pm ET

don't poop where you eat, but do pee where you drink? Blech.

Chris   May 22nd, 2009 2:04 pm ET

At home we drike water from a lake or river. Fish live in lakes and rivers and do who knows what in the water and I think all they do is run the lake water through a simple mechanical strainer an then add some chlorine.

Su Prieta | Apire to Grace   May 22nd, 2009 2:07 pm ET

Yea, yea, yea.... we'll all be drinking recycled urine one day and could actually be drinking it now, I would probably be glad to have this someday... or even today... but, please, for the love of god... just don't tell me what I'm drinking!!

Fred   May 22nd, 2009 2:07 pm ET


James(Iowa)   May 22nd, 2009 2:07 pm ET

Honestly do you think there's water on this earth less disgusting than rat pee? 85% of the worlds rivers and lakes are polluted with everything from pharmacuitcals to industrial waste anyway. Just because it looks clear... lol

It's like the hot dog of liquids.

Su Prieta | Aspire to Grace   May 22nd, 2009 2:08 pm ET

Yea, yea, yea…. we’ll all be drinking recycled urine one day and could actually be drinking it now, I would probably be glad to have this someday… or even today… but, please, for the love of god… just don’t tell me what I’m drinking!!

Monty   May 22nd, 2009 2:08 pm ET

It really doesnt take much to purify water, any reverse osmosis filter with a uv sterilizer makes for drinkable water.

Science Teacher   May 22nd, 2009 2:09 pm ET

To those of you who are claiming this is "gross", "disgusting", etc.

You didn't pay attention in school did you?
What did you drink today? Coffee? Juice? Soda? Bottled water?
Well where the heck did the water in that drink come from?
It's been here since the beginning of time. It's been in an iceberg, the ocean, a dinosaur, a plant, the ground, the air, someone's bladder, are you getting the point?
It has nothing to do with being "Green" or an "Obama supporter" Geez!

James(Iowa)   May 22nd, 2009 2:10 pm ET

Oh and to Jane... you already probably drink recycled Urine. What do you think waste treatment plants do? LOL

Chris   May 22nd, 2009 2:10 pm ET

People are so squeamish! Think about what a thin slice of meat used to be before it became part of your sandwich. McDonalds would probably not be selling nearly as many "ground cow muscle with nerves and only a few bones" sandwiches if thats what we called them.

Now is this newsworthy? I suppose it generated a few comments!

Jason   May 22nd, 2009 2:11 pm ET

I find the people who are afraid to drink recycled water amusing... you all do realize that there isn't a magical spring where your water comes from... ultimately all of the water on earth has been cycled through some animal's peehole at some point in it's cycle.

dufus   May 22nd, 2009 2:13 pm ET

"So nobody has invented nothing new here." ???

MikeInOrlando   May 22nd, 2009 2:17 pm ET

This is nothing new at all. Where do you think they get that beer that taste like Skunk piss? Hinse the name.

mike   May 22nd, 2009 2:18 pm ET

adds new meaning to the saying "they got the right stuff"

Debi   May 22nd, 2009 2:19 pm ET

Congratulations on the scientific advancement, but pretty sure I couldn't get past the fact it is urine.

The New Yorker   May 22nd, 2009 2:19 pm ET

Okay, thats fine. Bring on the piss water, but like aquafina dont tell me where it came from. The thought disturbs me.

I think this along with the "better of ted" lab grown meat will allow us to go where no man has gone before. (yeah that was a play on words).

And finally when we end up crashing into satellites or go directly into a star (sun) after all being piss poisoned we will have realized this wasnt a good idea.

And for all of you environmental people I stop at the tree hugging. I have to be duped into the piss water. Hey just dont tell me where it came from. Ignorance is bliss.

Billb   May 22nd, 2009 2:25 pm ET

I believe this is already being bottled on earth under various names.

Names such as Miller Lite, Bud Light and Corona Light.

Lindsey Tzikakos   May 22nd, 2009 2:36 pm ET

Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I always wanted to be an Astronaut, until now. But hey, Survival of the Fittest!

Grover W. Denver CO   May 23rd, 2009 4:37 am ET

Do you remember the 'Stilth Suits' in Dune? they recycled all free water and waste from the body and had little pockets to drink filtered water from? Perhaps this is a step in that direction.

steve   May 23rd, 2009 8:48 am ET

If your ever a space tourist and they offer you some TANG just say no.

jeff   May 23rd, 2009 10:24 am ET

What do you think rain is made of?

MichaelB   May 23rd, 2009 2:53 pm ET

That pretty cool... but also nasty at the same time!

SilentBoy741   May 23rd, 2009 4:46 pm ET

"Astronauts enjoy recycled urine"

On Earth, we call it "light beer".

Kogi   May 23rd, 2009 7:05 pm ET

You all need to tough it up a little bit! As a young boy back in the old country (which shall remain undisclosed) I was very popular among women who have just given birth. They believed that drinking urine is helpful in some way so I was often asked to donate by the glassful. Here's to your health ;-)

Vaughan Wynne-Jones   May 23rd, 2009 9:10 pm ET

We've been drinking recycled water since it first rained... no biggie.

Eugene Kelly   May 24th, 2009 12:33 pm ET

In truth, though....I'm willing to bet most sane people trapped under an avalanche for a week would start drinking their own UN-recycled urine.

Maurice Miles   May 24th, 2009 2:21 pm ET

I fully agree with Ellen :)

Rob   May 25th, 2009 1:07 am ET

Obviously, most people don't understand where water (including bottled water) that we drink here on Earth comes from: oceans, lakes, rivers, etc. All of that water contains urine, as well as other waste & bacteria from ALL sorts of animals.

Mekhong Kurt   May 25th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

Drink recycled, um, pee, whether my own, my fellow crew members (were I an astronaut aboard the ISS), or some lab rat's, well . . . I guess. I'm 58 years old and a huge fan of the space program, and have followed it closely for decades. So, I knew this was coming. That said, I probably could accept it more easily if I was a colonist on, say, the Moon or Mars and my team leader (or whoever) asked me, "Hey, what do you think about the water we've been getting from recycled pee the past six months?" I'd probably blanch, but at least I could think to myself, "Gee, I didn't even know," which would provide some comfort.

Otherwise, whether implicitly or explicityly, I'd have to double-dog dare myself. Or have someone else do it. ;-)

But until we can figure out a way to manufacture water from space (fat chance, huh?), this is a necessity, and I'm glad to see that NASA has managed to reach what is a milestone, unglamorous as it is. Without it, we would be restricted to doing the space equivalent of taking a Sunday afternoon cruise around town. Let's say, on anything like a "lengthy" basis of several weeks, maybe out somewhere not far past the orbit of the Moon.

myhpio   May 26th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

....Yes,....I honestly did!

Moongirl_05   May 26th, 2009 10:23 pm ET

Well yes actually, they do ship the water from earth. The recycling system wasn't put into effect until just this past year. Up until then, there have been regular shipments of water with just about every mission to the ISS. It's mostly shipped on the Russian Progress vehicle, as it was designed as an unmanned cargo ship. And there will still be water shipments even though the recycling system seems to be up and running, though they should become less frequent. Just in case you were wondering, I work at NASA, in the payloads division. :)

Michael   May 28th, 2009 9:47 am ET

FYI, as an employee of the Johnson Space Center, I would like to clarify that before this installation, water was shipped to the ISS. There may have been smaller experiments with water purification but none to this degree. Since every ounce of weight is expensive to ship, this technology will help to lighten the load.

jason   May 29th, 2009 4:56 pm ET

haha...good point Ellen. A true realist :)

FastEddie   June 13th, 2009 5:20 pm ET

Have you seen this judging from your blog i thought you might like it

Jasmine Ward   July 13th, 2010 12:28 am ET

chlamydia can give you lots of painful and itchy moments so always practice safe sex.`-;

Jamie Stewart   October 7th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

chlamydia is very nasty disease, you'll get that nasty pus and infection,',

jeff smith   October 8th, 2010 9:11 am ET

My dehumidifier does this all the time. It only cost $150.

Should women be astronauts? Sure – just be sure to drink their pee | Web Watch by Web Gangsta   April 20th, 2011 7:02 pm ET

[...] So additional estrogen is considered a good thing for astronauts, in terms of preventing heart problems.  Which may be one benefit that those on the space station get from DRINKING RECYCLED URINE. [...]

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