June 01, 2016

The Back Page: The Unthinkable Drinkable

Jonathan P. Scoll

In the 2015 sci-fi movie The Martian, an American botanist (played by Matt Damon) abandoned on Mars is forced to spend months in a small, enclosed “habitat” module. Combining high-tech hardware with Yankee ingenuity—spoiler alert!—he uses his bodily wastes to grow potatoes and purify water. The Martian offers a cinematic first: recycled urine and feces as a major plot element.

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