World Toilet Day, astronaut showed how to use the toilet on the ISS

Due to World Toilet Day, astronaut Andreas Mogensen, currently on the International Space Station (ISS), decided to answer one of the most actual questions about hygiene: “How to use the toilet in space?”

Using the toilet in space can be a serious problem. Illustration:

The ISS crew is constantly engaged in scientific research. However, microgravity conditions not only complicate work, but also become a problem during ordinary everyday activities — for example, using toilets. The process of cleaning the body of waste without polluting the environment inside the orbital outpost is a rather complex task that requires a creative approach from engineers.

“And if you have ever wondered how using the toilet works on the International @Space_Station, I have made a little video explaining the procedure,” Mogensen said in his Sunday post on the social network X.

In total, there are three toilets on the ISS, which are enough for a crew of six people. The video illustrates how urine is removed using a special suction cup — by the way, it is cleaned for further use as drinking water. In the case of solid waste, the astronaut sits on a special device containing charcoal to absorb odours. The waste is collected in special sealed bags, which are then dried in a vacuum to remove moisture and compactly packed in containers taken out of the station along with the rubbish. After that, they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The European Space Agency decided to clarify this extraordinary process and released several infographics on the topic of toilet visits in space.

Infographic from ESA about using the toilet on the ISS
Infographic from ESA about using the toilet on the ISS

World Toilet Day is not only a curious event, but also an important initiative supported by the United Nations. It is aimed at improving the living conditions of more than four billion people, who are still deprived of safe sanitary conditions. 

“A functioning toilet in space constantly reminds me that not everyone in the world is lucky enough to have access to such a luxurious convenience or even just clean water,” Mogensen stressed in his note.

If you are interested in the details of how astronauts live and work on board the ISS, we suggest you watch a more extended video shot by crew members who have many years of experience on the station.

Earlier we reported on how AX-2 space tourists faced a shameful nuisance on the ISS.

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