Could you take a shower in a moon base?

Would gravity make taking a shower on the moon problematic?
10 March 2023



Justin doesn't want to know that, but Justin does want to know about, as he's obviously been looking at the news and the idea of building space stations on the moon, and says that got him thinking. What would happen if you were to try and have a shower on the Lunar base of the future? What would be the consequence? Would it work?


Xander - This is really interesting, I don't think anyone's really looked into this very much. So what I think would happen, right, is so when you are having a shower, the water that's on your body, there are two forces on it. There's obviously the gravity pulling it down off your body to the floor. And there's also a quite small, but definitely there, an electrostatic attraction from the water to your skin. And so this is why, when you come out of the shower, they'll still be like little droplets of water on your skin. They won't just fall straight to the ground. Now that force will pretty much be the same on the moon as it would be on the earth, but the moon of course has less gravity than the Earth. I think it's about a factor of six or something that the gravity would be weaker. So the droplets would need to get larger before the gravity would be strong enough to pull them down off your skin. So I think in terms of what it would actually be like, it would sort of feel stickier in a way. It might be a little uncomfortable. It would feel really quite strange.

Chris - Do you think you'd have a more efficient shower because you'd get effectively wetter because the water would stick to you for longer and then take longer to fall off you?

Xander - Yeah, I mean that's true, but what you really want in a shower, what I really want in a shower, is for the water to wash everything off. So perhaps if there's less gravity, then the water wouldn't be washing you as much and so it would be a less efficient shower.

Charlotte - Otherwise you're just taking a bath now <laugh>.

Xander - Exactly, yeah.

Chris - Just standing up, which should be quite an interesting experience

Xander - Yeah, I mean if you are kind of floating in zero gravity, all the water will just stick to you and you'll be surrounded in some kind of weird watery film.

Chris -
Imagine a swimming pool in space because a swimming pool on a space station that didn't have somewhere to make, in inverted commas, 'making gravity.' You'd have a swimming pool that was like a bubble.

Xander - Yeah. There would just be a ball.

Chris - And you'd get trapped inside it so you wouldn't actually be able to get out very easily. How would you 'surface' ? There's no up and down.

Xander - I mean, you would still be able to swim towards the surface of it so you'd be able to push the water around you back in a way. I mean this is obviously how swimming works wherever you are. So yeah, you would be able to kind of push the water away.

Chris - Do you think you would, as you came across your notional floating bubble, do you think you'd just keep swimming and just swim out of it?

Xander - Probably, yeah,

Chris - And then sort of drag a trail of water with you across it.

Xander - Yeah, I think that's probably what would happen. Yeah. And as I say, there would be probably more water that would stick to you than you would probably like

Chris - Which ushers in a whole realm of possibilities for new hair care products and all that kind of thing. And body shower gels and all things.

Xander - Yeah. Maybe they have to have a different concentration of all the different minerals on, on the moon or whatever.

Chris - Fascinating concept and a great question.


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