Cape Canaveral, Florida (NEXSTAR) — How do astronauts do their laundry in space? They don’t.
They wear underwear, gym clothes, and everything else, remove filth, and then junk them until the odor is gone.
NASA wants to change that. Even if it’s not the International Space Station, on the Moon and Mars, we stop throwing away a lot of dirty clothes every year, pack them in the trash, and burn them in the atmosphere on a discarded cargo ship. So, in collaboration with Procter & Gamble Co., we found the best way to clean astronaut clothing in space so that it could be reused for months or years, just like Earth.
The Cincinnati company announced on Tuesday that it would send a pair of tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station later this year and next year. This is all part of the galactic battle with dirty sweaty clothing.
That’s not a small issue, especially as the United States and other countries are trying to set up bases on the Moon and Mars.
According to NASA, rocket cargo space is small and expensive. So why waste new clothes if you can keep them looking and smelling fresh? Given that astronauts need 150 pounds of clothing per year in space, it will soon add up, especially on Mars missions for three years, and Mark Sivik, a chemist specializing in P & G fabrics and home medical technology. Said.
There are also health and illness factors.
Space station astronauts exercise for two hours each day to combat the effects of weightlessness on muscle and bone weakness, and quickly sweat, smell, and stiffen their training clothing. According to former NASA astronaut and NFL player Leland Melvin, their T-shirts, shorts and socks are fouled enough to run through pairs every week.
“Then they are considered toxic,” said Melvin, a spokesman for the project. “They like to have their own life. It’s very hard to sweat.”
Astronaut Don Pettit once tried to grow tomato and basil seeds in his old underwear, but he succeeded. According to NASA:
“The station has enough supplies to change underwear, probably once every three to four days, so I wondered if there were some nutrients there as well. Old underwear became spherical. It was folded and held in place with several properly placed stitches using the needles and threads of the sewing kit, “says Pettit. He then sewed Russian space toilet paper onto the outer surface of his underwear. “It works very well for the intended purpose,” he said of toilet paper, “it also makes great germinators.”
According to NASA, the seeds germinated in underwear and toilet paper planters within two days.
NASA and other space station partners have considered special antibacterial clothing to prolong wear, but that is not a long-term solution.
In the first experiment, P & G will send a custom-made detergent for space in December, allowing scientists to see how enzymes and other ingredients react to six months of weightlessness. And next May, we’ll deliver stain-removing pens and wipes for astronaut testing.
At the same time, P & G is developing a washer / dryer combo that can work on the Moon and even Mars with minimal water and detergent. Such machines can also be useful here in the arid regions of the globe.
One of many design challenges: Laundry water needs to be recycled for drinking and cooking, just as urine and sweat are now recycled at space stations.
“The best solutions come from the most diverse teams, and how diverse are they than Tide and NASA?” Melvin said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Astronauts do not do laundry in space. NASA wants to tackle odor challenges | WGN Radio 720
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