In case you see those giant rocket videos landing in tandem or Elon Musk’s car slipping into orbit and falling under the illusion that modern space flight is glamorous, please listen to the story of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson on how Packs regularly poo with your hand.
Actually, not yet; that could be too soon.
Let’s start with the basic concepts of the bathroom of the International Space Station.
The toilet was installed on the US side of the ISS in 2008. Soon after, a curtain was added. Then it flooded.
Fortunately, there is a second toilet on the Russian side, although sometimes it also breaks, which leaves astronauts to enter their ferries or, as a last resort, to use what is euphemistically called an “Apollo bag”.
We only say: it could be much worse.
You will notice that someone has decorated the cubicle with a caricature of an astronaut and a toilet. It is probably important to maintain a sense of humor when using this toilet.
Someone has also published handwritten notes around the post, because following instructions carefully will also be very important.
The best part of the bathroom, or the least terrible part, is the urination device. It’s just a funnel, a hose and a vacuum cleaner, but it’s relatively easy to use, and the pee goes into a state-of-the-art recycling system that turns it back into water.
That’s great. The worst part is poop.
The worst in all space can be poop.
Once, an astronaut from the European Space Agency explained how the toilet works in a YouTube demo (do not worry, insurance for work).
Under the best circumstances, you pass the cursor over the wet thing that seems to suck and dig in a plastic bag that covers a small hole in the top.