What’s the worst thing about going to space? This former NASA astronaut makes a confession that surprises many
He was in space for more than 275 days, on various flights; she worked with POT between 1992 and 2012 and recently returned to the International Space Station on the private flight Ax-1. With all that experience, Miguel “Michael” Lopez-Alegria draws a conclusion: the worst thing about going to space is using the bathroom.
The 64-year-old Spanish nationalized American made the confession in a tweet about the best and worst of the Ax-1 mission, private flight of the company Axiom and SpaceX that took him back to the ISS.
“The best: listening to my classmates see the Earth for the first time. The worst: the bathroom. No surprises: it’s always the bathroom.” López-Alegría wrote on his Twitter account.
With the curious publication, we delve into why going to the bathroom in space can be a traumatic experience.
How astronauts go to the bathroom in space, an unpleasant experience
Samantha Cristoforetti, the first European astronaut to perform a spacewalk, explained in a video for the European Space Agency, ESA (reproduced by the BBC), how they relieve themselves at the station, as well as how they clean themselves.
The video is from 2015, but it is still valid: there are not many advances that technology can make in space. Gravity will always play against it, and it is a difficult rival.
to urinate, astronauts use a small funnel connected to a tube with a fan, which generates the necessary suction so that the liquid does not float. The urine enters a recycling system, becoming drinkable and suitable for consumption by the crew.
While to defecate, “The principle is exactly the same: suction”, says Cristoforetti. The toilet is connected to a container for solid waste that is changed very regularly.
At present, there are seven astronauts on the International Space Station: they all share a bathroom, so time is short.
Cleaning is not easy either, and it refreshes very little
To cleanse their body, astronauts use some water that sticks as bubbles on the skin and an absorbent material, but thin, which is changed once a week. It is a kind of towel.
Meanwhile, they brush and use deodorant just like we would on Earth.
As López-Alegría says, going to the bathroom is still the worst thing about being in space. Nothing has changed.