Houston, Texas - NASA's new 'water recycling' system converts a once discarded human waste product, urine, into a life sustaining renewable resource, turning an outhouse into outpost at the very frontier of boundless space aboard the Intl Space Station (ISS).
"The 'recycled water' is undetectable from the earth water sent up by way of the shuttle," said NASA. "In fact, except for a few changing in protocol, everything is exactly the same."
One such new protocol requires ISS crewmembers to make a brief announcement before they use the zero gravity latrines.
"I know its NASA new protocol," said an ISS crewmember. "But it still doesn't make me feel any better having to say, 'Anybody thirsty?' every time I have to take a leak."
"It could have been worst," responded NASA "We initially considering having the ISS crewmembers say, 'Come and get it!' However, we realized that slogan should be reserved for our next generation human waste recycling system, or what we like to call our 'Number Two' project."
"Just like back on earth, the tricky part is over coming the stage fright," said John Blake, Mission Specialist. "It's pretty intimidating having to go when you know everybody is watching you. But then add the pressure of someone waiting on you for a drink too?"
Although as the data from the multiple tests conducted on earth as well as aboard, the ISS clearly show the recycled water is safe to drink, there remains room for improvement.
"I wish NASA engineers could have figured out a way to cool down the 'recycled water' before they had it installed up here," said Ellen Grossmen, Shuttle Commander. "Drinking it while it's still warm really freaks me out. Besides, it leaves me with a nagging question in the back of my mind, 'How do I taste?' Well, soon or later, you either got to ask someone, or try it yourself and I'm to shy to ask anyone. So later tonight when the rest of the crew is asleep, I guess I'll finally find out."
Grossmen also complains that her 'recycled water' seems to be the most popular among her male counterparts aboard the ISS, who often get into fights over it.
"I'm not sure, but I think they're using it as some kind of currency up here," says Grossmen. "They seem to be passing bottles of my 'recycled water' among themselves, trading it for cigarettes, malt liquor and Penthouse Magazines."
The real conservation is not in the recovery of water from human waste, though that is significant, insists NASA. Rather, it is from all the water saved by not having to flush the toilet every time a member of the space crew urinates. Although NASA assures the space crew that courtesy flushes are still required in the event a bowel movement should occur in tangent with the urination process.
"After all the ISS has a pretty confined workspace and tight sleeping quarters," said NASA. "And with all the different ethic food consumed by the international crew, well, let's just say we got a coronary cuisine of catastrophe waiting to happen."
NASA cautions that if too much methane is allowed to buildup, the results could be explosive.
Another one of NASA's new protocols requires male crewmembers to leave the toilet seats up at all times, as it was a courtesy extended to the female crewmembers before to leave them down.
"For sanitation reasons and to maximize the moisture recapture rate," said NASA. "All seats must be permanently affixed in the upward position, or removed altogether."
"What?!" responded an angry Grossmen. "They never put the seat in back down for us. And how are we supposed to use the restroom with the seat up all the time?"
"Hold it," responded NASA.
At any rate, the crew aboard the ISS with their new 'water recycling' system installed can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee like they we do down here on earth, asserted NASA.
"I don't care what NASA says," said Blake. "The coffee brewed up here tastes terrible ever since we installed the 'water recycling' system. Grossmen always brewed up a great batch of coffee for the crew. Now it tastes like somebody took the lid off the brewer and took a piss in it. It even has these little brown lumps in it too. How do you explain that?"
"No comment," said Grossmen, as she smiled.