One Pricey Potty

A trio of astronauts toast with purified drinking water aboard the International Space Station in May 2009.

Associated Press/AP Images

We've heard stories about some of the more ridiculous expenditures made by the U.S. government, but the 2008 announcement that NASA planned to invest $250 million in a space toilet was exorbitant, even by Uncle Sam's standards. Despite its price tag, the toilet isn't made of solid gold, but it does have one pretty fancy feature -- it can turn urine into drinking water. The pricey water processer not only filters urine into water, but it also makes sweat and moisture from hanging wet towels potable. For those who scoff at the idea of drinking urine (even if it's purified), NASA officials say the converted water is cleaner than the tap water in the United States. They also say this device should conserve 7 tons of water each year [source: Bloomberg.com].