Just in case you watch the videos of giant rockets in tandem or of Elon Musk's car in orbit and fall into the delusion of modern space travel, please listen to NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson as she regularly packed shit with her hand
Actually not yet; that could be too early.
Let's start with the basics of the toilet of the International Space Station.
Here it is, like a wet vacuum cleaner filled in a refrigerator:
Said toilet was installed in 2008 on the American side of the ISS. Shortly thereafter, a curtain was added. Then it flooded.
Fortunately, there is a second lavatory on the Russian side, though it sometimes breaks down and allows the astronauts to get into their shuttles or, as a last resort, use what is euphemistically called the "Apollo bag".
We just say: it could be a lot worse.
You will notice that someone has decorated the cabin with a cartoon of an astronaut and an outhouse. It is probably important that you keep your sense of humor when using this toilet.
Someone has also distributed handwritten notes around the stable because careful adherence to the instructions will be very important.
The best part of the toilet, or The worst part of it is the peeing machine. It's just a funnel, a hose and a vacuum, but it's relatively easy to use, and the piss goes into a state-of-the-art recycling system that turns it back into water.
That's kind of cool. The worst part is that it kicks.
The worst thing in space is that it's pooping.
An astronaut from the European Space Agency once explained how the toilet works in a YouTube demonstration (do not worry, safe for work).
In the best of circumstances, you float over the wet, vac-looking thing and poke into a plastic bag that lines a small hole at the top.
The video made it seem easy, but it's not easy to aim at weightlessness.
"I'm trying to hit a pretty small target," Whitson said last week as the prelude to her horror story.
Your NASA astronaut colleagues must practice the technique before they leave Earth – with the help of training toilets and an alarmingly positioned video camera that helps them to line things up.
And there are accidents, said Whitson, who spent two years of her life in space. Free-floating poop has been a danger of spaceflight since the days of the moon landings.
But, okay, you'll shit successfully into the hole and push the bag into the wet vac, separated by a thin curtain from the rest of a space station and the 250-mile gap between it and the earth.
What then? Nobody will recycle this hut.
The best thing that NASA has to do with it is to shoot them out of the International Space Station and make them burn like a shooting star in the Earth's atmosphere. Do not wish anything.
But the shit can not just be shot into space right away. Doing something in space is difficult and expensive; reportedly cost $ 19 million just to build the refrigerator toilet, flush not included.
According to the European Space Agency, the hut is simply in the toilet until the mass disposal – which is every 10 days or so. If you've ever used a Port-a-Potty on the last day of a music festival, you can imagine what the toilet looks like on a crowded space station after more than a week.
And so, not in the YouTube video is a definitive process that Whitson revealed with a grimace for Business Insider:
"After it gets full, you have to wear a rubber glove," she said, "and pack it up . "
That does not mean that 21st century space travel is bad. Far from it.
In a new episode of "One Strange Rock" by National Geographic, Whitson stifled her emotions as she remembered the splendor of her record time in space: to glide weightlessly through a craft that is the summit of the human ingenuity; I look out of a window at a whole swirling hemisphere.
But then you turn around, and there's the $ 19 million wet vacuum and funnel, and it's been a week since the last garbage day and that space crap must be crushed.
An Astronaut Is Surprisingly Helpful To Poop In Space
Here comes your own small space space space. It is not a room with a view.
NASA has stood in space. The "Space Poop Challenge" is your way of helping.