Mission to Mars will use feces as radiation shield

New Scientist reported on Friday that the Inspiration Mars project, funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, will develop a radiation shield for the 1166-cubic-foot spacecraft by lining its walls with, among other materials, human waste.

“It’s a little queasy sounding, but there’s no place for that material to go,” said Taber MacCallum, a member of the Inspiration Mars project. “And it makes great radiation shielding.”

MacCallum said that the two-person crew’s waste products would also be dehydrated, with the water drained out for recycling and put into bags on the walls. Food would also be stored in shielding containers, he added, saying that using it as a shield would not put it at risk of becoming radioactive.

The goal would be to use the bags create a liquid shield that would be 40 centimeters thick, with the crew swapping and recycling materials as needed, using a program known as Water Walls, which follows researcher’s suggestions to combine life-support and waste-processing functions with radiation shielding.

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