NASA wants astronauts to clean up their act.
The space agency is trying to figure out a way to do laundry in space, a pesky problem that makes space travel a smelly proposition — and leaves piles of dirty laundry weighing down space crafts while they orbit the Earth.
That’s why NASA is teaming up with Procter & Gamble to send Tide detergent alternatives into space later this year to figure out how to clean — rather than throw out — hundreds of pounds of sweaty and dirty astronaut clothes.
The agency says astronauts, who exercise two hours a day, need about 150 pounds of clothing a year while in space — a serious issue on crafts where space is at a premium and weight is meticulously calculated.
Former astronaut Leland Melvin said space travelers currently go through a pair of t-shirts, shorts, and socks every week, and “after that, they’re deemed toxic.”
“They like have a life of their own,” he said. “They’re so stiff from all that sweat.”
Cutting back on dirty clothes would not only be a huge relief on the International Space Station but on a potential three-year mission to Mars that the agency hopes to pull off.
In the initial experiment, Procter & Gamble will send space-friendly detergent to the space station in December to see how it handles six months of weightlessness.
Longer-term, the company is working on a washer-dryer set that could work on the moon or Mars with little water and detergent.
“The best solutions come from the most diverse teams,” Melvin said. “And how more diverse can you be than Tide and NASA?”
With Post wires