Friday, November 21, 2008

When I was a kid ...

... I never wanted to be an astronaut.
The first "I remember exactly where I was when that happened" moment in my lifetime was the Challenger blowing up. I was on a grade school field trip to the bowling alley and we were walking through the bar. (OK, a trip to the bowling alley and a walk through the bar?? On a Catholic school field trip? I dunno what the educational value was, either, so don't ask me.) Anyway, I looked up at the TV in the bar at the precise moment Challenger blew up.
Then I remember watching at work as the Columbia disintegrated on its way back to Earth.
So there are two good reasons to *not* want to be an astronaut. (Although one could argue that journalism wasn't such a good choice, either, as that seems to be a field that's disintegrating -- although at a somewhat more slow, painful rate.)
As if the fear of instant disintegration wasn't enough, now we have this:

This dandy little machine is the "Water Recovery System" and it was carried up to the International Space Station by Endeavour last week. Don't let the name fool you.

Here's a description from Wired Science:
"The machine will use a distillation process that compensates for the absence of gravity to remove impurities from urine. Then the water will be combined with fluid from showers, shaving, tooth brushing and hand washing, as well as perspiration and water vapor that collects inside the astronauts' space suits.

All this reclaimed water will go through a processing system to extract free gas and solid materials such as hair and lint. Afterward, the system will remove any remaining contaminants through a high-temperature chemical reaction."

GREAT. I would get to drink my pee, my fellow astronauts' pee, my shower water, their shower water, my sweat, their sweat, my spit, their spit ... Oh, but thank God: The lint and hair will be filtered out.

And I always thought that accidentally swallowing a mouthful of Lake Michigan water was disgusting ...

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