Feeds

NASA wants space washing machine for ISS, Mars bases

'Nauts stinky knickers cram station for months on end

Security for virtualized datacentres

NASA have moved at last to tackle the problem of dirty astronauts by commissioning a microwave with air-jets to clean underwear in space.

There are no washing machines on the International Space Station so grime-encrusted nauts will wear underwear for 3-4 days and other items of clothing for months, before disposing of the dirty laundry by hurling it into the atmosphere to burn up in old Progress cargo capsules, attempting to wash it in a plastic bag or even - yuck - using it to grow plants in.

The costs of sending anything into space - between $5,000 and $10,000 per 500g - limits the amount of clean knickers that can be sent up in the first place.

NASA have selected small disinfectant business UMPQUA to make a prototype of a low-water, low-power washing machine that could enable the laundry to be done 250 miles above the earth's surface - or much further afield, on deep space craft or in bases on the Moon or Mars. The new NASA research contract is to produce:

Flight Hardware for long duration human missions beyond low Earth orbit ... The system is suitable for use in any long term space mission where resupply logistics preclude routine delivery of fresh crew clothing and removal of disposable clothing articles. While the proposed laundry system is microgravity compatible, the system will be completely functional in reduced gravity environments.

The machine proposed by Oregon-based company would use jets of vapour, air and microwave rays to clean clothes. The proposal indicate that it achieves "greatly enhanced softness" over the traditional low-water vacuum pressing methods.

The laundry microwaves could be useful on Earth too the manufacturers suggest, saying they'd work well in isolated military outposts, research stations and on ships.

UMPQUA also have a second potential contract with NASA - for an efficient poo-burner or a Highly Efficient Fecal Waste Incinerator. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.