Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – NASA astronauts aboard the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV) that will journey to the Moon won’t have to abandon their EVAs (extra-vehicular activities) such as surface exploration when they decide to answer nature’s call.
New spacesuits being designed by NASA engineers include a “long-term waste-disposal system,” which is NASA-speak for a built-in toilet. The last time spacesuits had integral waste disposal systems were during the Apollo program that landed 12 Americans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972.
Oddly, the new waste-disposal system will have a lot in common with their ancestors, according to NASA.
The new suits are called Orion Crew Survival Systems Suits (OCSSS). They’ll be worn by astronauts aboard Orion, which will carry astronauts well beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) and to the Moon.
Orion itself will be equipped with a toilet. NASA, however, plans for the worst and isn’t discounting the possibility the Orion capsule depressurizes due to an accident and astronauts have to remain in their suits to survive.
NASA intends that its astronauts survive in their suits for up to six days. That means its male and female astronauts will have to urinate and defecate without taking them off their bulky spacesuits.
“That is a really long time,” said Kirstyn Johnson, a NASA engineer leading the design of the internal systems for the Orion launch and landing suit, “but then to live in a suit with all of your waste right by you for that long of a time, it could get gnarly pretty quickly.”
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