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Star Trek's Grossest Food Detail Might Make You Sick

"Star Trek" presents a utopian vision of the future where space crews travel the galaxy looking to extend olive branches of peace to any planets willing to listen. However, utopias are sometimes built upon a foundation of dark secrets, such as the fact in the "Star Trek" franchise people eat their own poop. It makes the folks eating bugs in "Snowpiercer" appear downright idyllic.

If you ever wondered what eating on the U.S.S. Enterprise was really like, look no further than "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 3, Episode 12 — "There Is a Tide..." The story sees Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) meet with the hostile Osyraa (Janet Kidder). During their chat, Osyraa comments on the apples made in the iconic replicator, a mainstay of the franchise that can transform energy into objects, most often food. He informs her, "It's made of our s***, you know. That's the base material that we use in our replicators. We deconstruct it to the atomic level and then reform the atoms." Osyraa promptly spits out a chunk of apple, and the loyal "Star Trek" audience becomes horrified at the revelation.

Of course, breaking down poop to its atoms and then rebuilding them in essence creates something entirely new, and one would imagine there's a hefty sanitization process. To a degree, it makes sense to reuse what people on the Enterprise expel, so their waste isn't simply getting thrown to some unfortunate nearby planet. The Enterprise is pretty green that way, and as Admiral Vance concludes, "It's pretty good for s***, and we don't have to commit atrocities for it."

Eating poop sounds highly ... logical?

To quote a classic work of literature: "Everyone poops." Seeing as the Enterprise may be out in space with limited physical supplies for extended periods of time, it makes sense they would find a way to reuse whatever waste they have on hand. Once it's broken down into atoms, it's really not "poop" anymore, and it can be transformed into something edible that, at the bare minimum, tastes "pretty good." 

Admiral Vance's revelation is certainly one of the funniest "Star Trek" moments in history, and it has an even greater standing within reality than most people may realize. In 2023, NASA revealed how astronauts aboard the International Space Station have technology that's capable of recycling sweat and urine into drinkable water. Cleaning up urine is one thing, but we're probably a ways off from figuring out how to break down feces and turn it into something edible. Although, according to a report from ABC News, that could very well be on the horizon, as it's mentioned how "Engineers have been working on how to make sure astronauts have basic needs met without resupply missions, including how to recycle food, air and water." Recycle food? Sounds like becoming an astronaut could become a lot less appealing in the near future after all. 

All things considered, the fact that replicated food tastes bland at worst means the replicators are truly marvels of engineering. In theory, someone could be eating the same atoms for breakfast every single day. And when one considers how the transporters in "Star Trek" actually work, eating sanitized, reconfigured poo atoms doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world.