This New $23 Million Toilet Is a Necessity for Space Travel
A redesigned commode just landed at the International Space Station; it could help us get to Mars.
The International Space Station is getting a much needed upgrade today in the form of a new toilet.
The $23 million loo weights almost 100 pounds and is 28 inches tall, or about half as big as the two Russian-built toilets already in use at the ISS, according to CNET.
Besides a smaller size, the new commode is tilted and shaped differently to accommodate female astronauts; it also features new funnels for urination and is better at capturing waste (a tour of the older suction toilet can be seen below).
This is how NASA explains the function of their new space toilet, known officially as the Universal Waste Management System:
On platforms like the space station where astronauts live and work for extended time periods, UWMS will feed pre-treated urine into a regenerative system, which recycles water for further use. For shorter duration missions, like Artemis II, UWMS also works with a system where waste is not pre-treated with chemicals and is simply stored for disposal. The toilet was designed to address astronaut feedback about comfort and ease of use. It also features a 65% smaller and 40% lighter build than the current space station toilet. Improved integration with other components of the space station water system will aid in recycling more urine, which, yes, the astronauts do drink after it is filtered and processed.
With the included foot restraints and handholds, the new microgravity toilet was designed to “provide ideal body contact to make sure everything goes where it should.”
Besides use for longer missions on the ISS, the new toilet is being eyed for potential voyages to Mars.
Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.
Suggested for you