If you are thinking the space travel is full with a lot of thrills and adventure and modern space flight is glamorous, then you need to see the real story from NASA’s astronaut Peggy Whitson. It may sound interesting but being an astronaut comes with some serious compromises, and one of the horrors relates to the toilet of ISS.
Recently, in an interview, Whitson who has spent 665 days in space at the International Space Station has shared some unpleasant truth about the toilet situation of the International Space Station and it sounds really awful.
Peggy Whitson stated that the ISS is not a hotel where one can expect high-quality and luxurious toilet. But it has a bathroom. Its just like a pod, but of course it is better than a dipper and Maximum Absorbency garment dippers also called Apollo bag. Talking about its coast it is around $19,000. Some reports say the first toilet on the American side of the International Space Station was installed in 2008, but later in flooded. But there is still a toiled on the Russian side of the ISS. However, the toilet is known for its malfunctions.
Explaining the process, Whitson stated that urinating is somehow easy in the ISS. But the more challenging thing is doing number two. Because, while pooping one need to hit a small target, otherwise, the condition will be horrible. The toilet looks like a box developed with the high-tech mechanism. There is a metallic base attached to a powerful fan which produces suction power for excrement.
The best part of is the peeing apparatus. It looks like funnel or vacuum and very easy to use. It vacuum-suck the pee and then it goes for the recycling process. As per the information, around 80 to 85 percent of urine recycled to astronauts drinking water. After few days, the pee turns into water and used by astronauts. The whole process took 8 days to complete. Well, it sounds really cool. But the worst part is pooping.
In the ISS, the pooping method is like one need to hover over the wet vac-like tool and poop into a plastic bag carrying a small hole. It may sound easy, but in zero gravity, it is not easy to aim. Expressing her horror story Whitson stated in space toilet while pooping, one needs to hit a fairly small target.
For this, astronauts before going to ISS have to practice the method through training toilet. A camera helps inline things up. Free-floating poop is dangerous for space travel since. There are some accidents related to this. Because it can’t be recycled like pee. What NASA does is that shoot it out from the ISS and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. It may look like a shooting star.
As per the information was given by the European Space Agency, the mass disposal in the ISS happens in every 10 days and till that day the poop stays inside the toilet. Well, from here one can imagine what the toilet of the space station is like after few days.
However, after it gets filled up, astronauts use a rubber glove and pack it in a bag. This is the most disgusting process. If the process is not carried out with care, it can result in airborne turds drifting around the room and then they have to collect and put back in right place. it is important to catch the poop before it gets away from the ISS.
However, besides all these disgusting things, Peggy Whitson by expressing her feeling stated that she enjoyed her days at International Space Station. She also stated that she will not miss a chance to visit the ISS if she got a chance in future. She expressed that she would like to live a life in a zero-gravity environment in the ISS. “The floating, the sleeping, just being in zero gravity — it’s so much easier to move. I love being in space,” she expressed.
She stated all these in the episode of One Strange Rock on National Geographic channel. She further stated that all the astronauts have same psychological development. Even though there are borders between nations, but from space, the earth looks like a perfect place for human where they can live and develop. Humans are attached with some kind of special connection. All the living beings share the same air. As there are no planets like Earth in the space, it’s the responsibility of people to protect the planet.
Taking about Peggy Whitson, she is a former head astronaut on the ISS. She has created a record in space history as the longest single flight in space by a woman by staying 665 days there. On 3rd September 2017, she returned to Earth.