NASA is sending a $23 million toilet into space.
Astronauts also have to go to the toilet – of course. But how can the process be pleasant despite the lack of gravity?
Usually, people do not think about the daily things that astronauts have to do on the International Space Station (ISS), including meeting basic human needs, such as going to the toilet.
NASA engineers and technicians are constantly working on this and are now introducing the latest model: the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) space toilet.
According to Space.com, NASA hopes to improve this technology in future missions, by sending the ISS a brand new toilet system worth $ 23 million.
Going to the toilet has long been a complex situation in space – to such an extent that NASA launched a crowdsourcing campaign in search of new toilet designs in June.
The new toilet system, known as the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), is made of titanium and is 65 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the current ISS toilets.
This is very important, as the interior space is very limited on board. This new design will be considered for use in future missions to Mars or the Moon. Once the toilet reaches the ISS, astronauts will test how it works, in the station’s unique environment.
It will be installed together with the current waste system in Node 3. It includes a urine funnel and a seat designed with the female crew members in mind. This is especially important for future missions, given that NASA intends to send the first woman to the moon by 2024.
The system will reach the ISS through the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo capsule, which will launch into space today, September 29, as part of a supply mission. The aim is to imitate the natural water cycle of the earth on the space station.
With regard to the urine, the principle applies: “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee.”