The node Advances in Toilet Technology
got me thinking about technological progress in expelling waste. How will humans of the future deal with the problem when they've taken to the stars?
The following is an excerpt from the NASA FAQ, available on their website at http://www.nasa.gov
Q: How do astronauts in space go to the bathroom and take care of their personal hygiene?
A: Astronauts brush their teeth just like they do on Earth. There is no shower on the Shuttle, so astronauts must make do with sponge baths until they return home.
Each Space Shuttle has a toilet that can be used by both men and women. Designed to be as much as possible like those on Earth, the units use flowing air instead of water to move waste through the system.
Solid wastes are compressed and stored onboard, and then removed after landing. Wastewater is vented to space, although future systems may recycle it. The air is filtered to remove odor and bacteria and then returned to the cabin.