Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology => Topic started by: charli on 22/06/2021 03:22:21

Title: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: charli on 22/06/2021 03:22:21
Listener John has been wondering for many years:

"During their round-trips to the moon, while three astronauts spent six days crammed into a tiny, air-tight chamber, how did they deal with their, shall we say, bodily functions? For example, how did they prevent the chamber from stinking to high heaven, and did they leave a waste bag on the moon?"

Do you know?
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: evan_au on 22/06/2021 04:51:35
Quote from: Astronaut Russell Schweickart
The most beautiful sight in orbit ... is a urine dump at sunset.

Quote from: OP
did they leave a waste bag on the moon?
Yes, anything they didn't absolutely need for their return journey was left on the Moon.
Every kg left on the Moon translates into an enormous amount of fuel saved at liftoff from Earth.

See: https://science.howstuffworks.com/10-moments-space-bathrooms.htm
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: alancalverd on 22/06/2021 14:51:12
Early short-orbital missions led to the development of the astronaut diaper, a fine (unused) example of which is in the London Science Museum.

An overriding concern of lunar exploration is not to pollute the planet with biological material. AFAIK the small amount of waste collected from the landing parties was retained in the LEM and not left on the surface.   
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: yor_on on 22/06/2021 17:45:30

Hmm, thinking about that you actually can swallow standing upside down. Those other muscles works much in the same fashion, the opposite way, doesn't they?

Wouldn't it just be enought with small panel opening to space with your behind securing the leaks?
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: Colin2B on 22/06/2021 18:13:34
Wouldn't it just be enought with small panel opening to space with your behind securing the leaks?
Depends how much of your insides you want to lose  ;D
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: yor_on on 22/06/2021 18:38:31
Ahh, I have to add a 'suction' to it?

Ok, then I'll be fast, very fast :)

Typical, when I at last thought I had come to an understanding.
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: CliffordK on 24/06/2021 06:49:14
Hopefully for the International Space Station, they have a pack-it-in, pack-it-out policy, and not adding poop to space garbage.   :o

Ok, so here are some notes about the International Space Station. (https://theconversation.com/how-do-astronauts-go-to-the-bathroom-in-space-153370)

Urine is recycle back to drinkable water.
Feces are loaded back onto transport vessels, and launched back towards Earth to  burn up on reentry. 
Title: Re: How do astronauts deal with their waste?
Post by: TommyJ on 29/07/2021 15:15:00
Waste-recycling is an eternal issue everywhere.

Here are some live experiences and actions.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/recycling-in-space-waste-handling-in-a-microgravity-environment-challenge

Long-duration human space exploration missions to the Moon and Mars need solutions for managing trash and other waste generated by the crew. NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems logistics reduction project is developing technologies to mitigate issues with waste. Four astronauts can generate 2,500 kilograms of waste during a yearlong mission. Trash takes up space and presents a safety risk to the crew from biological and physical hazards. Current waste disposal methods on the International Space Station rely on astronauts manually processing trash by placing it into bags then loading it onto a designated vehicle for short term storage, which depending on the craft, returns the trash to Earth or burns up in the atmosphere. This disposal method will not be available for missions beyond low-Earth orbit.

Recycling trash is one method for mitigating these issues, as well as potentially transforming waste into a source of supplies for the mission. Astronauts can process small pieces of trash in a high-temperature reactor, which breaks the waste down into water, oxygen, and other gases which the crew can use or vent as needed. Besides the gases, the remainder of the waste is greatly reduced in size, and no longer biologically active.