A stay on the ISS is a highlight of any career for any astronaut. However, life in space is also associated with problems that do not exist on earth. Among other things, this includes going to the toilet, which is quite complex due to weightlessness. So the astronauts have to deliver their urine into a special funnel with suction function. From there, the liquid is then reprocessed using a filter system and then serves as drinking and service water. Recently, the astronauts wanted to install a new urine conversion system and had to remove the toilet for a short time. The problem: Due to a mistake, about eleven liters of water leaked.
Spilled water becomes a danger to the electronics
On Earth, this would not have been a big problem: the water would have collected on the ground, where it could easily be wiped up. On the International Space Station, however, the water floated through the air. This created a potential source of danger. Because if the water is not caught fast enough, it can damage the sensitive on-board electronics. Therefore, the astronauts first sealed the leak – which was heavier than expected and only with the help of experts on Earth succeeded. They then grabbed on numerous towels and caught the water from the air again. According to the current state of knowledge, such damage to the electronics could be prevented. However, history shows that water supply and disposal on the ISS is a complex matter.
Also space tourists need to go to the toilet
For this reason, NASA has been researching this field for a long time and intends, among other things, to develop a space suit that can be worn for up to six days at a time. This would be necessary, for example, if pressure slowly escapes from the transport capsule on the way to the moon. In the future, the toilet theme should also gain in importance. Many companies have announced that they want to bring tourists and emigrants into space. Among other things, SpaceX is working on more comfortable solutions for going to the bathroom in space. However, it should be clear: in the future too, it will not be possible to dispense with the reprocessing and reuse. Because fresh water tanks take away space and provide extra weight. Their number is therefore always limited to a minimum.