Mars mission will use faeces as radiation shield

Inspiration Mars Foundation's planned 2018 flight to Mars has an interesting solution for blocking cosmic radiation.

Inspiration Mars Foundation's planned 2018 flight to Mars has an interesting solution for blocking cosmic radiation.

(Screenshot by CNET Australia)

Last week, we reported on the Inspiration Mars Foundation's plans to have two amateur astronauts do a 501 day round trip to the red planet and back, starting in 2018.

The plan seemed quite feasible based on the technology at hand, although there were still multiple risks, especially in regard to the physical stresses that the "Marstronauts" would undergo. In most space missions, shielding the human body from cosmic radiation is one of the key engineering pressures, and the foundation has a slightly nauseating solution.

Speaking to New Scientist, Inspiration Mars Foundation's Taber McCallum revealed that the current plan calls for the space-bound pair to store their physical waste — ie, faeces — in plastic bags to then be used to line the ship as it "makes great radiation shielding".

At launch, the ship will be lined with food and water, and as these are consumed, the solid human waste (with all the liquid extracted and reused) would replace the consumed product.

If the Foundation's Mars mission can make its 2018 timetable, it will be the largest private space travel ever attempted.

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