Sometimes to really keep up with the crazy innovations coming from NASA, you have to read between the lines. Buried in a fairly routine NASA press release outlining the most recent grants the agency has awarded is this stinker: "Synthetic Biology for Recycling Human Waste into Food, Nutraceuticals, and Materials: Closing the Loop for Long-Term Space Travel."
You read that right. NASA is actually giving $200,000 to Dr. Mark Blenner of Clemson University to figure out a way to make it healthy for astronauts to, basically, eat their own poop. The stated goal of the grants are to "provid[e] the means to produce food, medical supplies and building materials on site at distant destinations using synthetic, biology-based approaches."