Showering in space is no easy mission

Kristi King,

WASHINGTON — Six months without a shower? Astronauts living aboard the International Space Station endure that and do the best they can to stay clean.

But their underclothes can get fairly ripe after months without a proper washing. Now, NASA is looking for a washing machine that can be used with limited water, low power and zero gravity.

The UMPQUA research company has been commissioned to come up with a washing machine suitable for space. Popular Science reports the usual protocol is for astronauts to wear undergarments until they can’t stand it anymore, then throw the undies away in a capsule that incinerates in the atmosphere.

Washing clothes in space isn’t impossible right now. A video of Expedition Six commander Ken Bowersox massaging his shorts with a bar of soap in a small bag and blotting them dry shows it can be done. But a washing machine sure would seem easier.

Follow “>WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Advertiser Content