It is about the physiological matters of astronauts. They are not robots, so they will have to use the toilet regularly in these extremely inhospitable places. Scientists therefore designed and built the most advanced and ecological toilet in history.
We're talking about a $ 23 million toilet seat here. The new toilet will be installed in the vicinity of the current one, ie in the Node 3 connection module. Within days it will be transported to the International Space Station by the Cygnus cargo ship, where it will be used by the crew on a daily basis. Perhaps the astronauts will record videos of how they look in action.
The new space toilet works completely different than our home one. Since there is no gravity in space, waste products are pushed into two tanks by compressed air. The device has a 3D printed titanium separator and two fans. One reservoir is for feces and the other is for urine.
Separation of excrement is a key element in caring for ecology. Engineers explain that urine will be converted into drinking water, and feces will be used as fertilizer for space gardens. The toilet is 65 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the toilet currently used on the International Space Station.
Work on the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS), as the new toilet was called, lasted six years. Scientists used the experience gained during the improvement of earlier devices, which were also tested by astronauts in space. NASA informs that in 4 years the toilet will be sent to the moon along with the Artemis mission and will be used by astronauts during surface exploration.
Recently, NASA announced a competition to build a space toilet targeting talented non-agency engineers (see here). Scientists want to work together to develop even more advanced devices that will use the excrement as much as possible, for example as a valuable resource in top world tech construction of the first habitats.