Dirty clothes get trashed in space. NASA and Tide are working on a detergent to stop that

Science

USA TODAY 23 June, 2021 - 09:28am 40 views

Procter & Gamble Co. will send a pair of Tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the International Space Station this year.

A link has been sent to your friend's email address.

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

You’re not going to believe what astronauts do with their dirty laundry. Buzz60

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – How do astronauts do laundry in space? They don’t.

They wear their underwear, gym clothes and everything else until they can’t take the filth and stink anymore, then junk them.

NASA wants to change that – if not at the International Space Station, then at the moon and Mars – and stop throwing away tons of dirty clothes every year, stuffing them in the trash to burn up in the atmosphere aboard discarded cargo ships. So it has teamed up with Procter & Gamble Co. to figure out how best to clean astronauts’ clothes in space so they can be reused for months or even years, just like on Earth.

The Cincinnati company announced Tuesday that it will send a pair of Tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station this year and next, all part of the galactic battle against soiled and sweaty clothes.

It’s no small problem, especially as the U.S. and other countries look to establish bases on the moon and Mars.

Rocket cargo space is tight and expensive, so why waste it on new outfits if clothes could be kept looking and smelling fresh? When you figure an astronaut needs 150 pounds of clothes in space every year, that quickly adds up, especially on a three-year Mars mission, said Mark Sivik, a chemist specializing in fabric and home care technology for P&G.

There’s also the health – and ick – factors.

Space station astronauts exercise two hours every day to counter the muscle- and bone-withering effects of weightlessness, quickly leaving their workout clothes sweaty, smelly and stiff. Their T-shirts, shorts and socks end up so foul that they run through a pair every week, according to Leland Melvin, a former NASA astronaut and NFL player.

“After that, they’re deemed toxic,” said Melvin, a spokesman for the project. “They like have a life of their own. They’re so stiff from all that sweat."

While NASA and the other space station partners have looked into special antimicrobial clothes to prolong wear, it's not a long-term solution.

In its initial experiment, P&G will send up detergent custom-made for space in December so scientists can see how the enzymes and other ingredients react to six months of weightlessness. Then, next May, stain-removal pens and wipes will be delivered for testing by astronauts.

At the same time, P&G is developing a washer-dryer combo that could operate on the moon or even Mars, using minimal amounts of water and detergent. Such a machine also could prove useful in arid regions on Earth.

One of the many design challenges: The laundry water would need to be reclaimed for drinking and cooking, just like urine and sweat are recycled aboard the space station.

“The best solutions come from the most diverse teams,” Melvin said, “and how more diverse can you be than Tide and NASA?”

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Read full article at USA TODAY

Dirty laundry in space? NASA, Tide tackle cleaning challenge

Yahoo News 24 June, 2021 - 07:26am

They wear their underwear, gym clothes and everything else until they can’t take the filth and stink anymore, then junk them.

NASA wants to change that — if not at the International Space Station, then the moon and Mars — and stop throwing away tons of dirty clothes every year, stuffing them in the trash to burn up in the atmosphere aboard discarded cargo ships. So it’s teamed up with Procter & Gamble Co. to figure out how best to clean astronauts’ clothes in space so they can be reused for months or even years, just like on Earth.

The Cincinnati company announced Tuesday that it will send a pair of Tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station later this year and next, all part of the galactic battle against soiled and sweaty clothes.

It’s no small problem, especially as the U.S. and other countries look to establish bases on the moon and Mars.

Rocket cargo space is tight and expensive, according to NASA, so why waste it on new outfits if their clothes could be kept looking and smelling fresh? When you figure an astronaut needs 150 pounds (68 kilograms) of clothes in space per year, that quickly adds up, especially on a three-year Mars mission, said Mark Sivik, a chemist specializing in fabric and home care technology for P&G.

There’s also the health — and ick — factors.

Space station astronauts exercise two hours every day to counter the muscle- and bone-withering effects of weightlessness, quickly leaving their workout clothes sweaty, smelly and stiff. Their T-shirts, shorts and socks end up so foul that they run through a pair every week, according to Leland Melvin, a former NASA astronaut and NFL player.

“After that, they’re deemed toxic,” said Melvin, who’s serving as a spokesman for the project. “They like have a life of their own. They’re so stiff from all that sweat." 

While NASA and the other space station partners have looked into special antimicrobial clothes to prolong wear, it's not a long-term solution. 

In its initial experiment, P&G will send up detergent custom-made for space in December so scientists can see how the enzymes and other ingredients react to six months of weightlessness. Then next May, stain-removal pens and wipes will be delivered for testing by astronauts. 

At the same time, P&G is developing a washer-dryer combo that could operate on the moon or even Mars, using minimal amounts of water and detergent. Such a machine could also prove useful in arid regions here on Earth.

One of the many design challenges: The laundry water would need to be reclaimed for drinking and cooking, just like urine and sweat are currently recycled aboard the space station.

“The best solutions come from the most diverse teams,” Melvin said, “and how more diverse can you be than Tide and NASA?” 

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Federal agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest grasshopper-killing campaign since the 1980s amid an outbreak of the drought-loving insects that cattle ranchers fear will strip bare public and private rangelands. In central Montana's Phillips County, more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the nearest town, Frank Wiederrick said large numbers of grasshoppers started showing up on prairie surrounding his ranch in recent days. “Drought and grasshoppers go together and they are cleaning us out."

SpaceX is getting set to launch scores of satellites for its Transporter-2 rideshare mission, and one of those satellites marks a milestone for LeoStella. Loft Orbital’s satellite, known as YAM-3 (“Yet Another Mission-3”), is the first of its kind built for San Francisco-based Loft Orbital by LeoStella, a joint venture between BlackSky and Thales Alenia Space. All of the satellites previously shipped out from LeoStella’s factory in Tukwila, Wash., were built for BlackSky’s Earth observation cons

A man was killed in a shooting on Sunset Boulevard, police said.

Russian paleontologists discovered a small cave bear skull with a hole in it. It's strong evidence that ice-age humans hunted the animals.

The composer and theatre impresario has been vocal about the impact of the pandemic on the theatre industry.

Aircall has raised a $120 million Series D round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Following today’s funding round, the company has reached unicorn status, which means it has a valuation above $1 billion — this is the 16th French unicorn. The startup has been building a cloud-based phone system for call centers, support lines and sales teams.

Singapore said on Thursday it expects to almost double the number of doses of coronavirus vaccines it administers each day to 80,000 from this weekend and might later ease restrictions on gatherings and travel for those inoculated. Around 3 million people, or just over 50% of Singapore's population, have received the first dose of a vaccine. The health ministry said it hopes that by Aug. 9, two thirds of people eligible for vaccines will have received two doses and authorities plan to ease restrictions further when more are vaccinated.

A Maasai man receives a call on his mobile phone. Timothy D. Baird/Virginia Tech, CC BY-NDSometimes wrong numbers work. On the East African savanna, Maasai herders can form important new social connections when they misdial their mobile phones, our new study of these communities found. Maasai have traditionally lived in relatively independent, homogeneous groups, but these misdials introduce them to strangers near and far. And some even become friends or business partners. Our research into how

A news conference discussing the partial building collapse was paused Thursday morning because of lightning in the area.

Arlington police are asking the public to provide any information, photos or videos after the shooting that a killed a 16-year-old Wednesday night.

In a May interview, Hannah Waddingham opened up about her character's death scene, which she said involved 10 hours of "waterboarding."

The behind-the-scenes scramble to secure the use of experimental antibody drugs for Trump is detailed in a book by two Washington Post reporters.

Dr. Jesse Bloom said coronavirus sequences were a "gold mine" for scientists researching the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will not allow the pinnacle of democracy, our elections, to be used to spread disinformation and take away Americans’ constitutional right to vote.

Former officials in the Trump administration believe that stirring hostility to critical race theory could a winning ticket for the GOP.

REGINA, Saskatchewan — A Canadian Indigenous group on Wednesday announced the “horrific and shocking discovery” of the remains of hundreds of children at the site of a former school in the province of Saskatchewan, the largest such discovery to date. It came weeks after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of another former boarding school in British Columbia. Both schools were part of a system that took Indigenous children in the country from their families,

Champlain Towers at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida, has partially collapsed, killing at least one woman.

President Joe Biden made the joke in a White House speech outlining his administration's plan to combat gun violence in the US.

An influential firebrand cleric was sentenced to another four years in prison in Indonesia on Thursday for concealing information about his coronavirus test result. The three-judge panel at East Jakarta District Court, which was under heavy police and military guard, ruled that Rizieq Shihab had lied about his COVID-19 test result, which made contact tracing more difficult. Shihab has been detained since Dec. 13.

Point Roberts, Wash., long prospered as an appendage of Canada. But pandemic restrictions cut it off from civilization.

NASA astronaut took picture of CVG and Cincinnati from space

The Cincinnati Enquirer 23 June, 2021 - 02:09pm

A shot of CVG from space is circulating on Twitter after a NASA astronaut used the picture to give the airport a shoutout.

A link has been sent to your friend's email address.

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Welcome to our new and improved comments. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. You do not need a Facebook profile to participate.

You will need to register before adding a comment. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in.

Please be polite. It's OK to disagree with someone's ideas, but personal attacks, insults, threats, hate speech, advocating violence and other violations can result in a ban. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them.

A shot of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport from space is circulating on Twitter after a NASA astronaut used the picture to give the airport a shoutout. 

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough is currently in space as Commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station. 

The mission launched in April 2021 and will return sometime in the fall. 

Kimbrough tweeted "Hello to the Cincinnati tri-state area! I snapped a clear shot of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport from space! It’s currently the 7th busiest airport in the U.S. by cargo traffic and is additionally the fastest-growing cargo airport in North America." 

Hello to the Cincinnati tri-state area! I snapped a clear shot of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport from space! It’s currently the 7th busiest airport in the U.S. by cargo traffic and is additionally the fastest-growing cargo airport in North America. pic.twitter.com/WwMy77yIf4

Many people excitedly remarked on how amazing the shot was and pointed to other Cincinnati landmarks they could view from the pictures. 

Some said they could see their house, and others said they could see part of the Brent Spence Bridge and the new TQL Stadium. 

Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble also reacted to Kimbrough's tweet, writing, "Hey Shane! How's it going up there? We'll be up there soon to help with your fast-growing laundry pile!"

P&G's brand Tide has an agreement with NASA allowing it to send detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station by the end of 2021. 

© 2021 www.cincinnati.com. All rights reserved.

NASA is trying to solve the problem of dirty underwear in space

Mic 23 June, 2021 - 12:19pm

In space, no one can hear you scream. Luckily, no one can smell you, either. Under those pristine, white space suits that we always imagine astronauts in, displaying the utmost poise as they take humanity into the unknown, there are some dirty-ass clothes and underwear that are caked with filth and clinging to stinky bodies.

According to a report from the Associated Press, NASA is desperately seeking answers on how to keep astronauts and their clothes clean, because the waste is getting ridiculous — especially with long-term stays on the International Space Station and possible trips to Mars in the not-too-distant future. The space agency says that the average astronaut needs about 150 pounds worth of clothes with them to keep them covered for an entire year away from Earth. And that's with the space explorers wearing clothes for extended periods, even as they get covered in sweat.

According to AP, astronauts are asked to wear their clothes for as long as they can, until the smell and the gross feeling of building filth just becomes too much. That can happen quicker than you might imagine, as astronauts typically work out for two hours per day in order to counteract the effects of weightlessness, which can result in significant loss of muscle and bone mass. Clothes usually make it about a week before they get labeled as too toxic to continue, at which point astronauts trash the clothes and put on a new outfit, turning the previous fit into space waste.

This has been a long-standing problem for astronauts on extended stays. In an article from 2003, NASA explained that astronauts are asked to keep wearing their clothes because there simply is not much closet space once you get off of Earth. "Plus, when it costs between $5,000 and $10,000 per pound to launch it into space, that becomes some very expensive underwear," the article says. NASA goes on to say that there are functions for dirty clothes, like using items as a makeshift planter — but the most likely outcome for rank space undies is that they get loaded up with the trash and shot out into space, where they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Now, you might be thinking there's an obvious solution here: Just launch a space laundromat. But could you imagine trying to plug quarters into the washer with zero gravity? It'd be a nightmare. Plus, traditional methods like this would take too much water — which is the primary reason that astronauts simply can't wash their clothes. Instead, according to AP, NASA has decided to partner with Tide to run a series of experiments with the goal of making clothes in space washable and reusable.

In the first test run, which is set to make its way into space in December, Tide and NASA will send up a custom-made detergent to see how its enzymes survive in six months of weightlessness. If all goes well, another test run is set for May that will launch stain removal wipes and pens into space — which feels like it is taking the concept of the Tide To Go pen to its logical, if extreme, endpoint.

Additionally, the partners will work on creating a washer and dryer that could operate in space using only the smallest amount of water and detergent. The idea is to keep the amount of resources needed low so that the clothes cleaners can function in an environment where resources like water might not be readily available — say, on the surface of the moon or Mars.

These are the types of small but important little details that have to be accounted for to make space travel possible. Every little thing, no matter how mundane, must be thought through. That said, you have to admit that it's a little funny that some of our brightest minds may also have the dirtiest underwear.

How astronauts deal with the boring parts of being in space

MIT Technology Review 23 June, 2021 - 09:48am

When you go up, all of your clothes are shrink-wrapped—all the air is sucked out. And when you undo the vacuum seal, you’ve now got to stuff those shirts back in your locker. You have to think about trying to figure out “How do I get this thing in there?” Stuff is now starting to float around you. Most of the time when you lose something, you look up and it’s just floating above you. 

Cleanliness was also a big thing. You work out regularly in space like you do on Earth, but up there you have what I like to call this “running shorts gantlet” of used gym shirts and shorts and sports bras just floating around, and you're trying to get yourself as small as possible to get through [this corridor] without having something wipe you in the face or your mouth or your eyes.

When I was shaving, I had to go up to where the air is getting filtered and there’s a positive airflow, so that my little shavings would just go up into the filters. Because you don’t want these little hair particles to get in your eye. This type of stuff is mundane like it is on Earth, but it’s mundane with a twist in the face.

There are analogues of the space station and the modules to prepare you for how to handle things. You go see how you’re going to do the so-called mundane things you’ll be doing in space. And when it comes to figuring out how you’ll do these things in space, there’s the parabolic flights you go on, where you experience weightlessness for 25 seconds at a time. 

But we never really take weightlessness training to do other things, like cleaning your teeth. So you really have to figure that out, make that connection from your zero-G training to the actual working and living in space. And I think most people make that transition fairly quickly. People will have to figure these things out. I think once you visualize the environment you’re going into and have had some zero-G training, then you have this thought exercise on how you do this in microgravity. And I think those are the people that really get it quickly, because you’ve already kind of done it from visualization.

We throw away our clothes in space, because we don’t clean them. When we’re finally going on future lunar or Martian missions, or one day when we’re even further out, we won’t be able to throw anything away. We’ll have to reuse everything. And I think that’s critical for exploration. Washing clothes would seem mundane, but it’s life. It’s a must-have for the future of exploration. Or we’re not going to have enough clothes to exercise and work out in and do our jobs.

There are a ton of new opportunities coming up for civilians to go into space. How do you anticipate astronaut training evolving and transforming to accommodate these kinds of people? What could new technologies like VR do? 

There’s a company called Star Harbor Space Academy that’s looking to have a Natural Buoyancy Laboratory for training people for space, along with zero-G flights in an airplane, robotics, and even VR. I mean, what if you had a VR suit that gave you the tactile sensations, the smell, the temperature—all the senses that you have to be excited by what you’re perceiving as the experience of space? Like if you’re doing a spacewalk, and you’re going out in this suit, you open the door, and you’re feeling the sun is there. That’s 250 degrees Fahrenheit, right? This immersive experience—that would be a great tool for helping people train.

Self-care before group care: you take care of your stuff first, before you try to go help anyone else. Because what’s going to happen is you’ve got to go work the robotic arm while someone’s on the end of it, or tasks like that. But now suddenly you’re worried about “Hey, did I put my shirts back in here? Did I get the right thing that I need? Did I do all my stuff?” So take care of your own personal space, your gear, your hygiene, all of that stuff as quickly as you can. And then if you can help someone, then do it then. 

‘NASA Tide’ will be the first-ever laundry detergent for astronauts

Fast Company 23 June, 2021 - 09:30am

An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens

The future of innovation and technology in government for the greater good

Our annual guide to the businesses that matter the most

Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways

New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system

Celebrating the best ideas in business

In their case, though, the hoarding is out of necessity, because there’s no effective laundry solution that exists yet in space. Quite simply, astronauts don’t wash their clothes. Instead, they lug ample supplies onto missions. But, as NASA prepares for upcoming, deep-space missions, Tide has created the first-ever astronaut laundry solution, to be trialed in space in the near future. And, the company hopes the learnings from the tests will be brought back down to Earth to help us run more sustainable laundry loads on our planet.

Leland Melvin, a retired NASA astronaut and engineer, embarked on two missions in 2008 and 2009, totaling about 23 days in space. Those are relatively short missions, he says, so he could afford to bring new shirts for each day. That’s simply not an option for longer-duration missions; clothes take up valuable storage space needed for food and other essentials—not to mention that the average cost of taking a pound of items to space, he says, is about $10,000.

Clearly, a laundry solution has long been needed for poor explorers faced with stains, the threat of bacteria, and malodor (or in Melvin’s words, “stank funky”). NASA Tide, developed by Tide scientists to work in space’s uniquely taxing gravity conditions, including under NASA’s closed-loop water system. Water is scarce, and so all water products—including urine, workout sweat, and even exhaled breath moisture—are captured through vents, recycled, and filtered into drinking water. That will also be true of the water used for laundry, so the NASA Tide will be fully degradable, and work with much less water than your standard wash cycle.

The solution is being developed to align with upcoming ambitious trips to space: the Artemis Moon mission, which also aims to have the first woman and person of color to land on the Moon in 2024; and three-year Mars exploration missions planned for the 2030s. Tide plans to experiment with a variety of solutions, explains Amy Krehbiel, brand VP for NA Laundry at Procter & Gamble: first, for the lunar and martian modules, and on the surface of the Moon and Mars, Tide aims to send a washer-dryer machine that would work in low-gravity conditions. Astronauts would use NASA Tide and likely about four gallons of recyclable water for a 10-pound load. The second solution would be for the flights to and from the International Space Station, where gravity is much weaker, and would likely need solutions involving low or no water, and no spinning appliances. “This could potentially throw them off their trajectory!” Krehbiel says.

These laundry experiments will begin on the International Space Station from 2022 onward, and also involve trials of Tide-To-Go pens and wipes for waterless stain removal. The idea is that they’ll bring all their learnings back to Earth, to ultimately reduce water and energy usage for the estimated 25 billion loads of laundry completed each year in North America. It’s part of Tide’s Ambition 2030 sustainability goals, announced in March, under which it’s committed to halve greenhouse gas emissions at its plants by 2030, and to find product and educational solutions for less wasteful washing.

But, why try them in space first? “Doing it in space is the ultimate torture test,” Krehbiel says. Besides, for the astronauts, feeling clean simply improves quality of life in such an alien place, reducing distractions from the important tasks to be carried out on board. “I think it’s something that we must do to ensure the health and cleanliness of astronauts,” Melvin says. “All these little, micro things affect your way of living and being in this remote environment.”

Astronauts Set for Friday Spacewalk -- Here’s How to Watch | Digital Trends

Digital Trends 23 June, 2021 - 09:30am

The extravehicular activity (EVA), as spacewalks are officially called, will take place on Friday, June 25.

Kimbrough and Pesquet, both experienced spacewalkers, will continue to work on upgrade the space station’s power systems, with tasks including the installation of a second solar array following the installation of the first one last weekend. Four additional solar arrays will be installed during future spacewalks.

“During the spacewalk, Pesquet will secure himself to the end of the station’s robotic Canadarm2 then grasp the [solar array],” NASA said on its website, adding, “Operating from inside the station, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei serving as backup, will command the robotic arm to maneuver Pesquet and the array as close as possible to the installation location.”

Friday’s EVA will be ninth for Kimbrough and the fifth for Pesquet, and the fifth they’ve conducted as a team after two spacewalks during the current mission and two earlier ones in 2017.

The space agency explained that although the current solar arrays continue to work well, they’re starting to show their age. The new solar arrays are being placed in front of six of the current arrays in a move that will boost the satellite’s total available power from 160 kilowatts to as much as 215 kilowatts. NASA said the same kind of solar array will provide power to part of the Gateway, a habitable satellite planned for lunar orbit as part of the agency’s plan to create a long-term, sustainable presence on the moon.

NASA will begin its livestream at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT) on Friday, June 25. Kimbrough and Pesquet are expected to depart the space station at about 8 a.m. ET (5 a.m. PT). The spacewalk will likely last for between six and seven hours. Pesquet will be identifiable by red stripes on his spacesuit, while Kimbrough will be working in an unmarked suit.

Coverage, which can be viewed via the player at the top of this page, will include footage from multiple cameras attached to both the ISS and the astronauts themselves. You’ll also have access to the live audio feed between the astronauts and Mission Control, while a NASA commentator will explain what’s happening as Kimbrough and Pesquet perform their various tasks.

EVAs can produce some spectacular imagery — check out these incredible photos captured during spacewalks from over the years.

Copyright ©2021 Designtechnica Corporation. All rights reserved.

5 ways space science is bettering life on Earth

Inverse 23 June, 2021 - 07:00am

Using the CarbonMapper satellite, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory also created a map that can track “super emitters” of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

NASA’s Applied Science Program has been hard at work tracking changing water storage and rainfall patterns, a crucial service during a time of increasing drought. They also partner with the USDA and USAID to assess how water levels — necessary to grow crops — impact agricultural conditions and food insecurity.

In 2020, the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology Department also developed a satellite tool, CropWatch, to gather data on crop conditions, especially how they’re impacted by climate change and the Covid-19 crisis.

NASA has also been tracking the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air, highlighting the importance of laws like the Clean Air Act in mitigating air pollution.

Deforestation is causing massive changes to Earth’s land coverage and threatening the habitats that support wildlife. 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through human land use since 1990.

But through careful satellite monitoring of changes in vegetation cover and land use, organizations like NASA can gauge threats to animal biodiversity and help with conservation efforts of at-risk animals.

Here’s how it could work in a near-future world: space satellites outfitted with solar panels use large mirrors to reflect energy onto solar collectors, which then wirelessly relay the energy to Earth in the form of microwave or laser beams.

Space-based solar power stations could face the sun 24 hours a day, providing a constant stream of renewable energy to Earth. However, scientists must figure out how to gather the energy and materials to launch and build such stations, which are the size of approximately 1,400 football fields. So, we may need to wait a little longer before such plans can benefit planet Earth.

Tide Is Making Laundry Detergent for the International Space Station

HYPEBEAST 23 June, 2021 - 03:20am

Right now, astronauts onboard the International Space Station have to wear a set of clothing multiple times before completely replacing them with a new set. The process is not only costly but also consumes additional resources when NASA has to send shipments up into space, and so the agency has tapped into Procter & Gamble‘s Tide brand to develop a solution that can allow astronauts to do their laundry on the ISS itself without compromising the closed-loop water system.

HYPEBEAST® is a registered trademark of Hypebeast Hong Kong Ltd.

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. If you enjoy our content, please add us to your adblocker's whitelist. We'd really appreciated it.

NASA and Tide team up to do laundry in space

CNET 22 June, 2021 - 08:41pm

For humans to live on Mars, we'd need to figure out shelter, air, water and food. But what about laundry? NASA and Procter & Gamble, owner of the Tide laundry brand, are working together to figure it out.

"Tide has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to help in the development of laundry detergent solutions and technology development in space," P&G said in a statement on Tuesday. "Under the agreement, NASA may test and study Tide cleaning solutions in space."

From the lab to your inbox. Get the latest science stories from CNET every week.

Before we get to laundromats on Mars, NASA and Tide are going to try some experiments up on the International Space Station. There are no washing machines on the ISS. Currently, astronauts wear a piece of clothing until it gets dirty and then throw it out. Regular resupply missions keep astronauts stocked with clean clothes, but that won't be a great option for further-flung destinations like Mars.

P&G is looking to address issues with limited water, ingredient safety and compatibility with life support systems. For example, liquids (including urine) on the ISS are recycled into usable water.

"Tide has developed a fully degradable detergent, specifically designed for use in space to solve malodor, cleanliness and stain removal problems for washable items used during deep space missions, while being suitable for use in a close-loop water system," said P&G. 

P&G is gearing up for some 2022 experiments on the ISS that will involve testing the stability of cleaning and stain removal ingredients in ISS conditions. The company is also looking into developing a combination washer-dryer that could be used for NASA Artemis moon missions and future Mars missions where low gravity will be an issue.  

NASA and P&G aren't the only ones trying to solve the clean-clothes problem. The European Space Agency is investigating antimicrobial textiles for use in spacesuit undergarments.

Any solutions NASA and P&G discover could also end up being helpful back on Earth, where certain parts of the globe are facing water shortages. If you can get clothes clean in orbit, on the moon or on Mars using very little water and energy, then that would also be a hit back on Tide's home planet. 

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.      

NASA and Tide to test how astronauts can wash dirty laundry in space

Daily Mail 22 June, 2021 - 03:26pm

By Ap and Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com

Tide is helping astronauts clean their dirty clothes while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a space approved laundry detergent.

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, allowing it to send a pair of Tide detergent and stain removal experiments to the space station later this year and next.   

The cargo will included a fully degradable detergent, Tide To Go Wipes and Tide To Go Pens. 

Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble, is also developing a washer-dryer combo that could operate on the moon or even Mars, using minimal amounts of water and detergent.

Tide is helping astronauts clean their dirty clothes while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with a space approved laundry detergent

Tide and NASA hope to solve the issue of astronauts having to throw tons of clothes away every year, which are then placed in the trash and burned in the atmosphere.  

Without a way to do laundry, about 150 pounds of clothing per crew member head to the ISS and that amount could triple for spacefaring heroes who will one day travel to Mars.

The space detergent is specifically designed to solve malodor, cleanliness and stain removal problems for washable items used during deep space missions, while being suitable for use in a closed-loop water system.

Also launching to the ISS will be the 'Mission PGTide' experiment, which will undergo testing by crew members to see stability of cleaning ingredients under microgravity conditions and exposure to the radiation levels experienced in space.

The cargo will included a fully degradable detergent, Tide To Go Wipes and Tide To Go Pens (stock)

Tide and NASA hope to solve the issue of astronauts having throw tons of clothes away every year, which are placed in the trash and burned in the atmosphere

In addition, the stain removal ingredients and performance will be tested onboard the ISS through experiments with Tide To Go Wipes and Tide To Go Pens.

'The ISS National Lab is excited to work with the P&G team once again as they push the limits of their research and development onboard the orbiting laboratory,' Dr. Michael Roberts, Acting Chief Scientist for the ISS National Lab, told AP in an interview.

'Through private-sector utilization of the space station, companies like P&G can conduct investigations in ways not possible on Earth to develop new consumer products, enhance existing products, and better understand processes that further business models both on the ground and in low Earth orbit. 

'We look forward to this first investigation of Tide in Space and hope that many more will soon follow.'

In addition to testing onboard the ISS National Lab, NASA and Tide researchers may study how an innovative combined washing and drying unit utilizing the special-formulated detergent could be integrated into planetary habitats that may be used for the Artemis Moon and Mars missions under low-gravity surface conditions. 

There are also a unique set of challenges that present themselves for a crewed Mars mission. 

Future missions to and from Mars will likely span multiple years, and these long-duration flights will require laundry solutions designed for extreme space-based environments and varying gravity conditions.

Pictured is the International Space Station as it orbits Earth

'This partnership was created to rethink cleaning solutions – forcing us to rethink innovations for resource-constrained and challenging environments like the ISS, deep space and even the future of our home planet,' said Aga Orlik, Senior Vice President, P&G North America Fabric Care. 

'We are eager to apply our learnings from our partnerships with NASA and the ISS National Lab to Tide on Earth, developing a low-resource-use laundry solution for everyday use while meeting consumer demand for more sustainable products.' 

One of the issues Tide hopes to combat is cleaning the clothes astronauts workout in. 

One of the issues Tide hopes to combat is cleaning the clothes astronauts workout in. Space station astronauts exercise two hours every day to counter the muscle- and bone-withering effects of weightlessness, quickly leaving their workout clothes sweaty, smelly and stiff    Pictured is astronaut Leland Melvin in 2009

Space station astronauts exercise two hours every day to counter the muscle- and bone-withering effects of weightlessness, quickly leaving their workout clothes sweaty, smelly and stiff. 

Their T-shirts, shorts and socks end up so foul that they run through a pair every week, according to Leland Melvin, a former NASA astronaut and NFL player.

'After that, they're deemed toxic,' said Melvin, who's serving as a spokesman for the project. 'They like have a life of their own. They´re so stiff from all that sweat.'

While NASA and the other space station partners have looked into special antimicrobial clothes to prolong wear, it's not a long-term solution.

In its initial experiment, P&G will send up detergent custom-made for space in December so scientists can see how the enzymes and other ingredients react to six months of weightlessness. Then next May, stain-removal pens and wipes will be delivered for testing by astronauts.

At the same time, P&G is developing a washer-dryer combo that could operate on the moon or even Mars, using minimal amounts of water and detergent. Such a machine could also prove useful in arid regions here on Earth.

One of the many design challenges: The laundry water would need to be reclaimed for drinking and cooking, just like urine and sweat are currently recycled aboard the space station.

'The best solutions come from the most diverse teams,' Melvin said, 'and how more diverse can you be than Tide and NASA?'

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.

Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?

Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.

Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?

Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual

We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.

You can choose on each post whether you would like it to be posted to Facebook. Your details from Facebook will be used to provide you with tailored content, marketing and ads in line with our Privacy Policy.

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

Science Stories

Top Stores