One of the things that astronauts probably would never exaggerate about is the difficulty with which you have to relieve yourself in space. After all, there isn’t really much room in the spacecraft to have a luxury bathroom filled with the common comforts of indoor plumbing. Instead, they literally had to move their bowels into a plastic bag.
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Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik really had to know what the experience was like and this was what he found out:
I always sort of knew that one day my life would bring me to the point where I was standing, pantsless, panting and straining to defecate into a plastic bag. What I’m relieved to find is that doing so turned out to be mostly voluntary, so I guess I should remember to be gracious.
The truth is that, really, waste management was something of an afterthought for the Apollo program, since they were pretty focused on just trying to find a way to get to the moon and back, period.
One can only imagine the difficulty of doing the whole process in space. Even NASA had to admit that it was a big struggle for astronauts to do.
The fecal collection system presented am even more distasteful set of problems. The collection process required a great dead of skill to preclude escape of feces from the collection bag and consequent soiling of the crew, their clothing, or cabin surfaces. The fecal collection process was, moreover, extremely time consuming because of the level of difficulty involved with use of the system.
So if we’re thinking of going to space and putting up human settlements there, I guess one thing that should be part of the planning phase is where we go to do the number two. And hopefully, they make it a lot less of a horrifying experience.
-via Marginal Revolution
(Image credit: NASA)