The International Space Station’s toilet has had its troubles, and Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has decided they want to “eliminate” this problem for future astronauts and procure a new way to deal with human waste in space. They formed a space toilet research group and came up with an idea that is sure to revolutionize space travel. The wearable toilet. “Clean and easy to use, the envisioned space toilet is designed to be worn like a diaper around the astronaut’s waist at all times,” says an article on Pink Tentacle. Engineers hope to have this next-generation space toilet available to use in space within the next five years.
How does it work?
“Sensors detect when the user relieves him or herself, automatically activating a rear-mounted suction unit that draws the waste away from the body through tubes into a separate container,” the article says. It’s also a full feature toilet/shower almost like a bidet, as well as eliminating potential embarrassing situations in space. “In addition to washing and drying the wearer after each use, the next-generation space toilet will incorporate features that eliminate unwanted sound and odor.”
Plans are to test working prototypes of the space toilet in Japan’s Kibo lab aboard the ISS. The developers indicate their next-generation space toilet may also prove useful on Earth as well, such as in hospitals with bedridden patients.
The current ISS toilet sucks waste away like a vacuum cleaner. Use of that toilet requires practice before heading to space, particularly because an improperly seated user has the potential to create a messy situation.
Chiaki Mukai, head of JAXA’s Space Biomedical Research Office, is looking forward to the development of the new toilet. “Long-term stays in space place significant stress on the mind and body,” Mukai says. “The toilet plays a crucial role in maintaining good health in space.”
Source: Pink Tentacle