NASA Tests New $23 Million Titanium Space Toilet

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    NASA’s first new space potty in decades — a $23 million titanium toilet better suited for women — is getting a not-so-dry run at the International Space Station before eventually flying to the moon. The Associated Press reports: Barely 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and just 28 inches (71 centimeters) tall, the new toilet is roughly half as big as the two Russian-built ones at the space station. It’s more camper-size to fit into the NASA Orion capsules that will carry astronauts to the moon in a few years. Station residents will test it out for a few months. If the shakedown goes well, the toilet will be open for regular business. The old toilets cater more toward men. To better accommodate women, NASA tilted the seat on the new toilet and made it taller. The new shape should help astronauts position themselves better for No. 2, said Johnson Space Center’s Melissa McKinley, the project manager. “Cleaning up a mess is a big deal. We don’t want any misses or escapes,” she said. As for No. 1, the funnels also have been redesigned. Women can use the elongated and scooped-out funnels to urinate while sitting on the commode to poop at the same time, McKinley said. Until now, it’s been one or the other for female astronauts, she noted. Like earlier space commodes, air suction, rather than water and gravity, removes the waste. Urine collected by the new toilet will be routed into NASA’s long-standing recycling system to produce water for drinking and cooking. Titanium and other tough alloys were chosen for the new toilet to withstand all the acid in the urine pretreatment. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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