The United Nations isn’t just talk. It’s action. And as an early bit of action for its space program, the UN designed a $5 million space shuttle that does what else? Turns poop into fuel.

That seems to be a theme these days, as people are starting to get over the past century of “apropos-ism” and starting to realize the need to use the gifts that keep on giving. Poop is a perfect example. Try as you might to remove fiber from your diet, starve yourself, and plug up your butty, the stuff just won’t go away. So why not use it for good? Compost – darn tootin! Fuel – you betcha! Food – not quite there yet.

Dave Matthews Satellite
Dave Matthews’ “Satellite”

According to Fast Company, “The goal is, to put it bluntly, to see if Shewanella (a bacteria) can convert astronaut feces into hydrogen for use in onboard fuel cells.” So why space? The idea is that the bacteria can survive longer in a microgravity environment, long enough for it to mix with the poop and convert the hydrogen from the bacteria into viable fuel.

The credit for this project is due to the Florida Institute of Technology, whose never-ending fascination with poop and space led to what could be a major scientific breakthrough. Now if we could only figure out how to turn the waste of NASA’s space program into fuel…

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