Are There Toilets in Space? NASA Astronaut Answered Most Asked Questions
Image for representation.
In space, nobody can hear you scream. But can they hear the toilet flush? Wait - are there even toilets in space?
A NASA astronaut has all the answers to your 2 A.M questions and shower thoughts, because let's admit it, we've all thought about what space would be like, and perhaps even considered what it would be like if we actually went there - but we've never really thought about the technicalities. How do astronauts answer nature's call?
NASA astronaut and United States Navy SEAL Christopher Cassidy recently revealed that this was the most common question astronauts get. In a new 7-minute video posted on Twitter, Cassidy, who has been an astronaut since 2004, shared details.
To go to the toilet in space, you have to use what Cassidy shares in the video: a tiny stall called the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC).
"The toilet" which consists of a seat and a metal bucket right below it. According to Cassidy, it holds about “30 deposits.” So the answer is, no. You don't 'flush' and there isn't running water.
Before using the WHC, astronauts first need to check the primary control panels. To pee, they make sure the lights on the panel form a V-shape, which means pee is set to go through the Urine Processor Assembly (UPA). When nature calls, astronauts urinate directly into a funnel attached to a hose that has airflow that sucks liquids in.
The toilet seat opening is only about five to six inches in diameter and lined with a plastic bag.
With a packet of mushrooms, Cassidy demonstrates how poop goes into the toilet and directly into the plastic bag. He throws toilet paper into the toilet, closes the plastic bag, and uses a metal stick to push it down the metal bucket. After that, he lines the opening with a new plastic bag for the next user and closes the lid.
In June, NASA called upon the global community to submit designs for compact toilets that can be used in both microgravity and lunar gravity.