NASA is about to test out a new toilet that cost $23 million.
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1973 was the first year a NASA spacecraft had a proper toilet. The toilet was aboard the first U.S. space station, Skylab. And by proper, we mean there was a hole in the wall with some suction and bags on the other side of the hole.
The space toilets today are a bit more advanced—similar to a toilet you’d find on Earth with some added function and a funnel to suck up any liquid waste, but solid waste is still deposited into plastic bags that are bundled with other trash before it is all shot back toward Earth to ultimately burn up in our atmosphere.
But this new $23 million toilet was actually invented to save money if you can believe it.
Right now, space toilets are custom made for each mission, but NASA’s goal with this new toilet is to make a universal waste management system; one that could be installed in a variety of spacecraft.
Find out more about this pricy privvy project in this Elements.
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