Jennie E.

LONDON (AP) - Russian scientists are developing a cocktail of bacteria that will eat underpants in an effort to find new ways to dispose of astronauts' dirty underwear. The project, aimed at long space missions lasting months, such as a trip to Mars, is reported in this week's issue of New Scientist, a London-based science magazine. The methane gas given off by the disposal unit could be used to power the spacecraft, the scientists told the magazine. "This will be a revolution in the science of biodegradation," said Vyacheslav Ilyin, head of the microbial ecology laboratory at the Institute for Biological and Medical Problems at the Russian State Research Center.

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