A Bio4Energy scientist at Umeå University (UmU) has won funds for conducting research that will feed into a Trash to Gas initiative started in 2012 by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and which will be stepped up in connection with the preparations of NASA astronauts' first-ever manned trip to the planet Mars in the 2030s. The trip to outer space is longer and further from Earth than any of NASA's previous manned trips and implies new challenges when it comes to handling and disposal of waste such as used garments and towels, spent food packaging, human waste and paper products. Notably, whatever is leftover cannot be smelly, nor bulky and, ideally, should be recycled for re-use.
Researchers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center have built a prototype reactor
designed to make something useful from the trash astronauts accumulate in space.
The device incinerates garbage to produce methane, oxygen and water--which can
be used for rocket fuel, breathing air and for life support. Original video clip and
report by George Diller posted on Youtube, 20 March 2013.