NASA is currently testing their first new space toilet in decades, or to be more specific a $23-million titanium device that’s set to blast off late Thursday from Wallops Island, Virginia, to the ISS. Weighing just 100-pounds and measuring 28-inches tall, it’s approximately half as large as the two Russian-built toilets at the space station now. It’s more compact to fit into the NASA Orion capsules that will carry astronauts to the moon in a few years. Read more for a video and additional information.
Similar to its predecessors, air suction, instead of water and gravity, removes the waste, while the urine collected by the new toilet will be routed into NASA’s recycling system to generate water for drinking and cooking. Titanium metal was chosen, along with other tough alloys, to withstand all the acid in the urine pre-treatment.
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Cleaning up a mess is a big deal. We don’t want any misses or escapes. Trust me, I’ve got going to the bathroom in space down, because that is a vital, vital thing to know how to do,” said Johnson Space Center’s Melissa McKinley, the project manager.