Dennis Tito is planning an ambitious private flyby of Mars for 2018 that will carry all kinds of logistical challenges during its proposed 501-day span, not the least of which is shielding the crew from radiation without consuming valuable resources.

The team’s solution is a clever one, if not especially pretty: human waste. While the walls of the Inspiration Mars spacecraft will initially be lined with -filled bags to guard against cosmic rays, their contents will be gradually replaced with er, byproduct that will be dehydrated through the bag (possibly using polyethylene ) to reclaim and purify for drinking.

As water-based materials are better at stopping radiation than metal, the approach theoretically represents the best of all worlds with less bulk, a simpler life support system and maximum room for supplies.

If the Inspiration Mars group can keep the bags working at high efficiency in , it won’t have to worry about its travelers’ safety; their comfort with being surrounded by their own waste may be another matter.

abb16bd42ars 340.jpg 450x246 Inspiration Mars ship using human waste as a radiation shield

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Inspiration Mars ship using human waste as a radiation shield: no really, it’s fine