NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson says that it is not all glamorous during the space travel. It looks quite astonishing when you witness the large rockets landing on the earth’ surface on a frequent basis or the Elon Musk’s SpaceX Lifting off Falcon 9 and other latest versions into space, and it feels fascinating. People would have a vision that modern spaceflight and space travel is very eye-catching and glamorous. However, the real picture is a bit different. According to Whitson, she had to pack poo with her hands regularly.
In fact, the toilet of the International Space Station is very peculiar. It appears like a wet vac which is forced into a fridge. She said that there is a toile on the American side of the ISS which was installed in the year of 2008. A curtain was sometimes placed later. However, it flooded most of the time. There is a second toilet which is situated on the Russian side of the ISS. However, the condition of this is also very pathetic, and it breaks often. Such a situation leaves the astronauts in a mess. As a last resort, they take help of what is known as “Apollo Bag.”
Peggy says that the situation could have been much worse and that they are dealing pretty somehow with the current situation. She feels that a cartoon may be drawn in front of the toilet featuring an astronaut and an outhouse. She has advised that astronauts should have a good sense of humor when using the space toilets. Some instructions are also inscribed on the cubicle which will make the astronauts aware and alert while using the toilets.
The least problematic part of the toilet is peeing apparatus. It is a funnel with a vacuum and hose. The pee goes down to the state-of-the-art recycling system where it gets converted into the water again. However, the worst portion is pooping. You have to move around the wet vac-looking machine and after that poop into a plastic bag with a small hole at the top. She has advised all her fellow astronauts to practice the activity well in advance before leaving for space. According to Whitson, they have a hit a tiny target (i.e., small hole) in zero gravity which is very difficult and horrifying.
Whitson has remained for two years within the space station and feels that free-floating poop has become very hazardous since the inception of moon landings.