NASA is launching an experimental, $23 million toilet to the space station on Thursday. But its designers worry it’s too stinky.
Because weight requirements for anything launching off of Earth are extremely strict, all space toilets have to be lightweight. But relying on small motors for powerful suction forces them to work hard.
That means they’re noisy. Because Orion is mostly made of aluminum alloy – it’s “a big aluminum can,” Hutt Business Insider – the noise of the toilet’s whirring fans, clicking valves, and clanking machinery machine will reverberate throughout the ship.
But there’s an upside: The loud sound gives toilet some privacy, since Orion’s bathroom has only a thin door.
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Because Orion is only the length of a small powerboat and must house four waste-expelling adults for nearly a month, its toilet has to be compact and relatively odorless. The prospect of storing human waste for weeks at a time also requires engineers to figure out ways to tamp down the stench.
Engineers have nailed the first two elements, but are struggling with the third, Hutt said.
“Odor is really caused by the chemical compounds released from human waste breaking through the filter that’s supposed to remove those compounds,” he said. full story
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