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NASA Contractor Needs Urine

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the space-sports dept.

NASA 291

Apparently, NASA sent a memo to its employees at the Johnson Space Center asking for their urine so they, NASA, could use it to test the Orion space capsule. How much urine? 30 liters per day, including weekends. Disposal of urine for up to six months would be required if Orion is to work as planned.

Alert reader nettamere adds a link to story at Discovery.com, excerpting: "Donations will be treated with a chemical that can hold solid particulates in the liquid so they don't clog up the tubing in microgravity, said Leo Makowski, company spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, a contractor designing the new spaceship's toilet. ... "It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis, the systems manager overseeing development of Orion's potty. 'That's why we depend on collections.'"

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Seriously? (5, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#24217971)

They must be taking the piss.

Why? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24217985)

It's just a wee amount to ask for.

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218035)

I foresee a weak stream of jokes from this article.

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218091)

They've begun to trickle in.

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

EricR86 (1144023) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218141)

All of you and your bad puns can piss off.

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218175)

Don't piss in my Cheerios, Raric!

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218717)

Urine trouble?
Lettuce help!

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218923)

What scientific whiz at NASA came up with this one?

Re:Why? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218915)

You're in with the moderators right now. Your joke wets their appetites for more humor.

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218095)

Well it is a GOLDEN opportunity.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218569)

This thread is just a pissing competition of lame jokes.

Re:Why? (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218739)

I am deeply saddened by the lack of Flomax jokes.

Re:Seriously? (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218143)

probably going to weed out the pot smokers too

Re:Seriously? (4, Funny)

Bobb Sledd (307434) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218219)

wrong emphasis! These are potty jokes.

probably going to weed out the pot smokers too.

There!

Re: Frosty Piss!!! (3, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218233)

For once the troll post is Insightful.

Re: Frosty Piss!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218401)

For once the troll post is Insightful.

I wish I could see it, but for some reason the GP is obscured. Clicking on the parent link doesn't reveal it either. :(

LAME!

Re:Seriously? (2, Funny)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218341)

Lucky for them we live in a urine nation.

Probably just a tempest in a pee cup.

Re:Seriously? (5, Funny)

bigdaddyhame (623739) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218443)

so the space race really IS a pissing contest!

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218761)

No "frosty piss" first post? That would have been on-topic!

But really... (5, Funny)

Scotteh (885130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24217977)

NASA is beginning a secret drug testing program.

Re:But really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218085)

Why is this offtopic?

Re:But really... (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218187)

NASA is beginning a secret drug testing program.

Off topic? No self respecting, tinfoil hat wearing, Slashdot reader mods that offtopic. Honestly, it would make a lame, but plausible cover for a drug testing program, and knowing our government, it's likely true.

Re:But really... (2, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218831)

Except that NASA and thus almost all of their subcontracors already have a pretty stringent drug policy in place. They can basically test you anytime they want. No reason to sneaky about it.

Re:But really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218847)

NASA is beginning a secret drug testing program.

Off topic? No self respecting, tinfoil hat wearing, Slashdot reader mods that offtopic. Honestly, it would make a lame, but plausible cover for a drug testing program, and knowing our government, it's likely true.

Being one of such tinfoil hat wearers (though not a mod) I can imagine why they would want to obscure the GP from most of views...

In other news, (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24217983)

30 Liters per day? Damn...

In other news, Management at NASA has announced that coffee for employees will now not only be free, but mandatory.

Urine for a treat! (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218033)

It's the Golden Age of Space Exploration!

Re:Urine for a treat! (4, Funny)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218325)

The Golden Shower Age, maybe?

Re:Urine for a treat! (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218655)

How do you think they scrub down in LEO, anyway? The ISS is nicknamed "Tinklebelle".

Re:In other news, (5, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218065)

This is actually a big problem; urine disposal is significant over time because it can cause serious corrosion.

There was a fleet of airplanes...I can't remember whose now...cargo planes...They had to be refitted, and a significant amount of redesign done, because the design of the restrooms coupled with air turbulence, ended up with a significant amount of piss dripping down on to one of the primary structural braces, and, over time, weakening it to the point of needing replacement.

Re:In other news, (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218357)

Sounds like a piss-poor job of aircraft design to me...

Re:In other news, (4, Funny)

midnitewolf (673923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218119)

On the bright side, finally a justification for drinking beer at work.

"I swear officer, It's for the Space program, and they need 8 gallons a day!"

Re:In other news, (4, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218205)

I find beer works better :)
Free beer for all employees!!!

Re:In other news, (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218895)

Humour aside, this might actually work...

Re:In other news, (2, Funny)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218373)

screw coffee make them drink beer, then they will have all the pee they need, shoot I would sign up.

shoot otherwise they may cause a STALL in the project

Re:In other news, (2, Funny)

geogob (569250) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218383)

Considering my current coffee consumption, I'd be pissed at any other policy.

Re:In other news, (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218487)

Beer man... please let it be beer...

Beerfest on campus will get you there in no time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218639)

Just give out free beer on any university ...

Re:In other news, (1)

Ororo (1101945) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218863)

Free beer, that'll give them plenty.

Stillsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218003)

Though I imagine the "eww..." factor would be pretty high, I'm surprised NASA isn't interested in developing a stillsuit-like technology a la Dune [amazon.com] , where body fluids could be quickly converted to usable water for drinking or other purposes.

Re:Stillsuits? (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218083)

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they're planing, just not in suit form.

Re:Stillsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218273)

Or the purifier Kevin Costner used to drink his own piss at the start of Waterworld (not that I'll admit to having seen that movie)

Re:Stillsuits? (4, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218735)

But who the hell wants to take Kevin Costner with them into orbit?

Re:Stillsuits? (4, Funny)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#24219091)

People with access to chloroform and an airlock?

Well, it is "Johnson" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218005)

Perhaps the name says it all.

Welcome ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218019)

I, for one, welcome our new urine collecting overlords ...

Re:Welcome ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218491)

In Soviet Russia, piss collects you!

Well (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218021)

Well that ought to take the piss out of the Orion project.

Re:Well (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218395)

Try to hack my 31337 firewall! [127.0.0.1]

I wasn't going to say anything but you've been PWNED! Bwahahaha! You now must be very pissed.

kegger at Johnson! (4, Insightful)

jhines (82154) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218031)

all they need is to hold an on-going kegger. I'm sure they will have no problems in this area.

Urine? Is that all? (5, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218059)

A professor I used to work for did research on the cryogenic preservation of sperm. The grad student who was working on this project wanted to run some initial tests, and we were not yet shipments of an appropriate animal substitute, so he acquired some samples himself.

Re:Urine? Is that all? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218361)

I bet he was a wanker. =)

Testing is just the "official" explanation... (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218111)

In fact, this is all a part of NASA's effort to develop the most intensive watersports programs ever conceived...

Bodily Fluids (3, Funny)

AgentOJ (320270) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218115)

They are just trying to sap our precious bodily fluids!

Re:Bodily Fluids (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218537)

Yup. Their mind-reading device needs urine in order to penetrate tinfoil hats.

hmmm (1, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218125)

Why not test the toilets with something that flows with a bit more difficulty in microgravity? If it could dispose of something thick, like canola oil, why not use that? That way when it goes up, it's guaranteed to suck down whatever the astronauts can throw at it.

Re:hmmm (4, Insightful)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218231)

Because it's not just about the toilet, but what happens to the waste after that. They need to extract and reuse the water...

Re:hmmm (4, Informative)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218683)

It's also about the corrosion, and the solids that gunk up the line over time.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218279)

Why not test the toilets with something that flows with a bit more difficulty in microgravity? If it could dispose of something thick, like canola oil, why not use that? That way when it goes up, it's guaranteed to suck down whatever the astronauts can throw at it.

  1. Canola oil is not urine.
  2. I think I will avoid dinner at your place as long as you are cooking.

Re:hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24219099)

I think I will avoid dinner at your place as long as you are cooking.

Ha! I'm a vegitarian. Most people already do!

Re:hmmm (2, Insightful)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218927)

In addition to what other commenters have pointed out, there's also the matter of mass budgets. An over-engineered urine disposal system would add unnecessary mass and volume to the spacecraft, a system where ounces matter.

Opportunity squandered. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218135)

"It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis, the systems manager overseeing development of Orion's potty. 'That's why we depend on collections.'"

Perfect reason to write a project proposal with a couple of million bucks in budget. All down the drain now with this kind of simple solution. Contractors are not going to be happy.

Re:Opportunity squandered. (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218539)

Contractors are not going to be happy.

Indeed. I bet they'll be pissed!

- RG>

30 Liters Per Day? (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218179)

Is that per person? That's a lot..

Why can't they just use animal urine or synthetic urine?

--
Wi-Fizzle Research..yeah it's a lame domain name :/ [wi-fizzle.com]

Re:30 Liters Per Day? (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218317)

It's probably more difficult to get a badger to piss in a bottle than a human. It would also take a lot of badgers to generate 30 liters per day. I suppose a polar bear would generate more, but that causes other problems such as a shortage of interns to feed the bear.

Re:30 Liters Per Day? (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218475)

Is that per person? That's a lot..

I hope you are being sarcastic.

Why can't they just use animal urine or synthetic urine?

From TFA: "It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis,..." and why trouble collecting animal urine when you've got all those peeing-people untaped?

I missed the boat (2, Funny)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218185)

Why didn't they need urine when I had kidney stones. I could have supplied NASA with all the urine myself.

Headline should read.. (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218199)

"Contractor Tells NASA To Piss Off"

"To GO where no man has GONE before" (1)

Tragedy4u (690579) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218207)

Gene Rodenbury had it right huh?

Fun fact... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218693)

Actually, there were no bathrooms shown in Star Trek, unless you count a Sonic Shower in Enterprise -- and most Trekkies would like to forget Enterprise ever existed.

Re:Fun fact... (2, Informative)

Oronar (942125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218995)

In Enterprise they had normal water showers. Sonic showers were mentioned in the others.

In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218235)

Mars Needs Women!

Here We Go! (5, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218237)

30 Liters a day? Man...if they don't manage to collect that, they're going to be pissed. What's even more disconcerting is that I'm sure the Number One guy at NASA is a wee bit worried about the results. He was overheard telling the Orion project manager, "You're in over your head on this one."

Hopefully additional information will be leaked so the true details of this story can be flushed out.

Quick!! (1)

gdog05 (975196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218239)

Someone call R Kelly!

Re:Quick!! (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218835)

That's gold Jerry, GOLD! If I had points you'd get +elevendybillion

So... (2, Insightful)

SeattleGameboy (641456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218241)

Who is the lucky person at NASA who gets to receive all the urine they get and prep them?

I've always wanted to work for NASA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218247)

I just sent my resume and a teaser bottle of piss.

If they pay for the beer... (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218269)

I can manage that everyday.

wow (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218277)

You I guess you really do only rent the bottled water from the nasa cafe.

Obligatory Monty Python Reference (5, Funny)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218347)

EXTREMELY ANIMATED CAPTION: 'MONTY PYTHON PROUDLY PRESENTS THE INSURANCE SKETCH'

Interior smooth-looking office. Mr Feldman behind a desk, Mr Martin in front of it. Both point to a sign on the desk: 'Life Insurance Ltd'.

Martin: Good morning. I've been in touch with you about the, er, life insurance...

Feldman: Ah yes, did you bring the um ... the specimen of your um ... and so on, and so on?

Martin: Yes I did. It's in the car. There's rather a lot.

Feldman: Good, good.

Martin: Do you really need twelve gallons?

Feldman: No, no, not really.

Martin: Do you test it?

Feldman: No.

Martin: Well, why do you want it?

Feldman: Well, we do it to make sure that you're serious about wanting insurance, I mean, if you're not, you won't spend a couple of months filling up that enormous churn with mmm, so on and so on...

Martin: Shall I bring it in?

Feldman: Good Lord no. Throw it away.

storage? (2, Funny)

andre3001 (976515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218353)

Where are they going to store all that urine? I remember a study on pregnancy where they needed real urine, which apparently breaks down rather rapidly, so they kept it all in the fridge. It's a bit scary to think of NASA working out of a giant refrigerator of pee. And I feel sorry for the guy who got an advanced degree, got a job at NASA, and is now the pee handler.

Re:storage? (5, Funny)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218513)

Sign in NASA cafeteria: Due to a mixup in Urology, orange juice will not be served this morning.

urk...

Re:storage? (2, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218797)

Worse yet, the memo: "Alright, who's the wiseguy who put the O.J. in the urine collection system? And where did our 30 liters of piss go?"

Re:storage? (1)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218969)

Memo to self: In the future, stick to milk!

Re:storage? (1)

vajaradakini (1209944) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218695)

In related news, NASA announces 10 day internships for undergraduates interested in a career in the space industry. Must be prepared to deal with potential bio hazards.

What? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218407)

"It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis, the systems manager overseeing development of Orion's potty. 'That's why we depend on collections.'"

They can tell my sex, blood type, color of my eyes and hair, my favorite brand of cigarettes and my probability of being obese from a drop of my blood but they can't synthesize urine? Where there heck did things go so wrong?

Typical NASA (5, Funny)

Middle - Adopter (906754) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218423)

It's probably a covert drug test.

*puts on tinfoil hat*

Have you ever see the earth from space...on weed???

Question (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218535)

Did they specify a mailing address?

Have they even tried the synthetic urine? (2, Interesting)

homesnatch (1089609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218633)

Maybe they're just looking to cut costs? Yellow River Synthetic Urine is available for $12 for 90cc. Computes to about $4000/day for their needs. https://www.whizzinator.com/order.html [whizzinator.com] (NSFW)

Re:Have they even tried the synthetic urine? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218897)

"It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis, the systems manager overseeing development of Orion's potty. 'That's why we depend on collections.'"

Yes, I'm pretty sure they did.

In any case.. is it possible to keep all the potty jokes in one thread please? Holy crap this is out of control...

Semen (4, Funny)

repetty (260322) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218667)

I'm going to tell me son to look into this. He was pretty excited recently when he discovered he could sell his semen for $250 a pop.

His urine might not fetch as much but he's got more of it.

Urinology? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218673)

Wow... wait... is this life, imitating video games? There's a character in Penny Arcade: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness that would, no doubt, be delighted to assist them with this, err. . scientific study.

Truly... (1)

Number6.2 (71553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218715)

Never have so many given so much for so few...

Including Weekends (1)

hielscher (1010837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218725)

"Including Weekends" - I probably drop 30 liters of piss most weekends. Now I have something to do with all of it.

oh my god weeeeeee! (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218771)

How much pee do they need? This looks like a job for beer!

Need NASA's address (1)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218801)

Okay, i've got this bottle filled. Where do I mail it?

This one's so EASY! (1)

areReady (1186871) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218877)

I can't believe nobody's made a Uranus joke yet. Urine. Uranus.

Gauntlet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24218921)

Yellow Scientist needs Urine Badly!

so... (1)

maroonhat (845773) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218929)

...thats what the broad was doing with the diaper on that road trip...

and then there's horse piss... :) (2, Interesting)

wherrera (235520) | more than 6 years ago | (#24218947)

Of course, this is not the first large scale industrial use of urine. A venerable brand of pharmacy industry estrogen replacement treatment for women ( Premarin [wikipedia.org] ) is made from vast quantities of horse (pregnant mare) urine. The horses spend their pregnancy hooked to a catheter. There are lots of synthetic versions now, of course.

New urinals (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24219025)

So why do they even need to ask their workers? NASA owns some very large buildings.... just replace all of the urinals with waterless ones, and collect the output. Each sample is not uniquely identifiable so there would be no privacy concerns. Many of the buildings are run 24/7 so weekends aren't an issue.
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