After a number of technological hurdles and unforeseen accidents, the crew of the International Space Station can finally enjoy their Urine Recycler — a device that makes urine drinkable.
Originally scheduled to go online last November, the UR has met with repeated mechanical failures. It sat unused until March of this year when it was finally repaired and after rigorous testing it now serves its intended purpose.
This marks the first time space explorers have been able to repurpose their own waste into drinkable water — a boon previously reserved for Andean plane crash survivors and Bear Grylls.
Perhaps not as glamorous as the concept of blasting off into space, the Urine Recycler still serves an important purpose: Despite the gobs of money countries toss at the ISS program, transporting huge amounts of potable water to the floating platform is difficult and costly.
Drinking urine might not have the same cachet as a bottle of Aquafina, but it beats dying of thirst in the cold, uncaring vacuum of space.