How NASA's plans to send detergent to ISS could change space exploration

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jun 23, 2021, 12:44 PM(IST)

NASA's detergent in space | Image by Reuters/Procter & Gamble Photograph:( Reuters )

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What do astronauts do for their laundry needs on ISS? What is NASA planning for them? Read here

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is known to push the boundaries of space exploration and research. Now, the agency has upped its game to provide a pleasant experience for astronauts who surrender themselves to solve the universe’s mysteries.

Life in space is extremely difficult for humans. At the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts spend a long time acclimatising to changes in terms of the basic physical laws that define our lives - including gravity.

Now, to make laundry easy aboard the station, the space agency is collaborating with Procter and Gamble. NASA wants to find a permanent solution to the laundry loophole. To achieve this, the company will undertake a series of experiments using specially designed detergents.

Procter and Gamble announced on Tuesday that it would collaborate with NASA on the experiment.

What do astronauts do for laundry aboard ISS?

Water is an essential resource, especially on the space station where the supply is limited. Due to this, there are no provisions for laundry aboard the station and astronauts simply jettison their used clothes.

In the absence of laundry mechanisms, NASA sends 72 kilograms (160 pounds) of clothing per crew member to the station every year. With private players eyeing farther off planets like Mars, astronauts need a long-term sustainable solution to washing clothes.

The pilot tests of “NASA Tide” will assess the effects of micro-gravity and radiation and are set to take place on a cargo flight to the ISS next year. Eventually, the testing will happen at the space station itself. Most of the equipment to carry out the tests is already available on the ISS, but P&G will send some paraphernalia for image analysis to the station.

That’s not it! At the same time, identical experiments will take place on Earth. Scientists will use the same material to study the differences and similarities.

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