NASA is sending a $23 million toilet to space – and it's good news for female astronauts

  • 17 Oct - 23 Oct, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Female astronauts will now have an easier time going to the bathroom in space, thanks to a $23 million new toilet design that NASA is preparing to launch to the International Space Station. The space agency calls it the Universal Waste Management System, and according to a press release, the toilet – which is 65 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than the space station’s current toilet – has been designed specifically based on feedback from astronauts. Because there’s no gravity in space, the toilets use air flow to pull urine and feces away from the body and into the proper receptacles. The former uses a specially shaped funnel and hose, while the latter uses the seat. Thanks to the new design – which also includes foot restraints and handholds instead of thigh straps – the funnel and seat can now be used simultaneously for the first time, “reflecting feedback from female astronauts,” the release said. The new toilet will also collect and reroute urine into a regenerative system, which will recycle the water to use again. According to reports, the toilet is the first time NASA has ordered a new one since the early 1990s.