A Small Step for Man, A Giant Leap for Space Hygiene

Taking The Stink Out Of Space Travel

Astronauts on the ISS wear the same clothes for days on end, even after workouts or strenuous space walks. A shower fitted in the station’s living quarters doesn’t work, and mechanical problems last year temporarily put its toilet out of order. The three astronauts that normally inhabit the outpost have to make do with wet wipes to keep their odors at bay and have an emergency supply of bags in case their restroom goes on the blink again.

Slated to head out into orbit on the next shuttle flight in March is veteran Japanese space adventurer Koichi Wakata…What’s new is that as he exercises to keep his skeleton from getting brittle he will be wearing garments made of an experimental light-activated deodorizing material developed at the Japan Women’s University in Tokyo. Should mankind ever undertake the long-haul voyages through the vast emptiness of space in search of alien life, having smell-free clothes might avert any embarrassing contacts with extraterrestrials who have noses.

Read the full story.