The Most Expensive Toilet in the World
Believe it or not, the most expensive toilet in the world, maybe in the entire universe, is no larger than a telephone booth, yet costlier than 10 houses in New York! The International Space Station bought a booth-like compartment toilet system for $19 million from Russia. NASA's spokesperson said buying a ready-made space toilet is cheaper than building one from scratch.
Surely, astronauts can flawlessly crack space-related equations, yet it has always been baffling how they use the space shuttle's toilet. Yes, it's tricky and it requires practice. The space station toilet has leg restraints and thigh bars to keep astronauts from floating, other features look similar to the toilets we use on Earth. There is an installed fan to suck waste into the commode. Plus each space crew member has a urine funnel attached to hoses, which pass through a device that can generate potable water.
Say what? A urine-drinking water converter? Well, let's hear the story from NASA on Water Recovery System:
"These unique recycling units, known together as the Water Recovery System, are designed to provide drinking-quality water through the reclamation of wastewater, including urine and hygiene wastes. The water that’s produced will be used to support the crew and work aboard the station. Also located in Destiny, the system is made up of two major components: One unit first transforms urine into purified water, and the next combines it with crew members’ hygiene wastes and cabin condensation before the final treatment. The system is capable of processing and providing water at a rate of up to 205 pounds per day to support up to seven crew members and station payloads. And while this process might carry a strong “ick” factor for most people, providing sources of life-sustaining water for long-duration space travel is essential."