Astronaut Peggy Whitson of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) described the problems she faced during her six hundred sixty-five days of mission in space. Working at the International Space Station (ISS), Whitson loved her unique job of installing parts of batteries on the solar panels of the space station, collecting samples of peculiar space microbes, and many others. However, talking about the sanitary problems in space makes her eyes become teary.
Whitson said in a statement, “To be a part of exploration in that very direct way is incredibly satisfying and gratifying.” However, she claimed to be dissatisfied with the toiletry in space. She said on Tuesday in New York, “The space station is not really a hotel yet.” She further added, “I would call it a camping trip.”
As said by the former astronaut, the toiletry system at the International Space Station is not as poor as the early Maximum Absorbency Garment diapers, which the astronauts had to use at times during their Apollo lunar missions. However, according to Whitson, the ISS Russian-made toiletry system is not any superior too. This system was taken by the International Space System in the year 2008 during the STS-126 mission at near about nineteen thousand dollars.
As part of using the Russian-based toiletry, the astronauts make use of a funnel-like equipment involving a fan, which pulls off their pee thereby does not letting it float. Then the liquid is processed within eight days to make it drinkable for the astronauts again.
Whitson said, “Urinating’s relatively easy.” But beyond that things are not easy. Further, the astronaut said, “Number two… is more challenging because you’re trying to hit a pretty small target.” The astronauts in the International Space Station for the purpose use a small hole of the size of a plate located on a silver can that uses the fan for vacuum-pulling the excreted products away. The excrement then gets packed into a plastic bag waiting to get disposed of in the following space trash day. Whitson said, “After it starts getting full you have to put a rubber glove on and pack it down.”
However, the toiletry system suffers many defects frequently and the excreted products tend to float in space. Later on, the waste materials are blasted off aboard a cargo ship packed with all the trash of the space station. This ship is directed towards the atmosphere of the Earth to be automatically burnt down. Whitson stated, “We send ’em on a trajectory that will purposely burn up,” Whitson said.