The toilet takes on a whole new dimension when it comes to outer space. This high-tech toilet is the prototype for the International Space Station. Years of meticulous research have gone into our astronauts’ facilities for what is no longer a mundane daily act – gravity has never been taken for granted more than when it comes to the toilet. Astronauts must strap onto the toilet, as sealing the seat is of utmost importance in a zero gravity environment. A complicated vacuum system is incorporated under the seat, where liquid and solid matter must be dealt with separately. Since no one is certain of the consequences of ejecting solid waste into space, it is compressed into round, flat discs, referred to by NASA’s toilet engineers as “people patties”. These are brought back to earth for two reasons: for the lucky lab technician whose job it is to analyse them, and to avoid the possibility of a solid-waste asteroid hurtling towards the earth.
New England Air Museum
Bradley International Airport