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back to article NASA wants space washing machine for ISS, Mars bases

NASA have moved at last to tackle the problem of dirty astronauts by commissioning a microwave with air-jets to clean underwear in space. There are no washing machines on the International Space Station so grime-encrusted nauts will wear underwear for 3-4 days and other items of clothing for months, before disposing of the dirty …

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Happy

As usual

Nasa are late to the party.

I already microwave my pants.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

I thought you were going to say that you already grow plants in your knickers.

Carry on then...

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Anonymous Coward

Easy fix?

Fly naked?

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Silver badge

@Easy fix

Too costly. This idea has already been patented by RyanAir

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Pirate

You'd think with all that training

that astronauts could "go commando".

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Happy

RE: Easy fix?

That would be great if I was the only male amongst the crew.

OH, those `heavenly sights`!

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Devil

Then sell the rights to say Playboy?

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Thumb Up

If it washes, dries and doesn't need extensive plumbing count me in

I'll buy one, what are we talking here £100 or £200? I'd be willing to go up to £250 if it comes with a tiny model astronaut.

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Happy

In my head

Just imagined a washing line hanging outside the ISS with a man in a spacesuit hanging up his nice clean undies. Made me chortle to myself anyway

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Bronze badge

Clothesline outside? One problem...

...with the clothesline outside, perhaps strung up on the truss: the sunward-facing side of your laundry would be perfectly nice and dry, while the side facing into shadow would be frozen solid.

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Silver badge

"with the clothesline outside"

Just use a rotary drier.

( When it's not being used it could make the craft look more like a 'real' spaceship which everyone knows bristles with that kind of antenna)

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Unhappy

Donovan

For some reason I now can't get the song "The Intergalactic Laxative" out of my head.

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Presumably the ISS will need a permanent female presence to operate this too.

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I don't know what world you live in, but here in Middle America, the lads do their own cooking and cleaning and laundry. If you don't, you'll never attract a woman, because they eat out, hire maids, and take clothes to the cleaners. (No wonder single men are more likely to afford a house downpayment sooner.)

True story: a while back, the elder lad came home from school and told my wife that he needed to bring in baked goods to school the next day. (He wasn't slacking to let us know, the unfireable teacher did that.) She nodded towards me and said "Ask your step-father." So the lad and I made them. When he complained, I told him "The way to a woman's heart is through your wallet. We're not wealthy, so your best shot at a girlfriend is food."

Two years on, he's in junior high and boy, does he remember that lesson now.

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Facepalm

I'm afraid you need to get your sarcasm detector looked at mate ;)

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Anonymous Coward

@Tim #3

Only if they need them ironing afterwards :-D

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Anonymous Coward

other use

Nasa, ships and mobile homes!

Price it cheap enough, and the snail shell shod masses will be buying them for their mobile houses on wheels, so they don't have to slum it in the communal laundry area of the campsite du jour...

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MJI
Silver badge

Caravan washine machines

There are already a few out there.

Some resemble a bucket!

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Silver badge

Bah!

Kryten and astrophysics show us the path to clean underwear:

Thirty minutes dangled outside in the harsh, radioactive environment of space to kill biologicals followed by a good thumping with the smeg-hammer.

Total cost, about 15 dollars for the hammer.

Stupid NASA "scientists".

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Paris Hilton

Dry cleaning?

I am wondering a dry cleaning mechanism might work.

Dry cleaning machines are a closed cycle, and never run hotter than 30c anyway. All the solvent is recovered. Could use the vacuum of space for the evaporation phase.

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Coat

So they'll get their undies washed in recycled pee? lovely :(

Just use scotsmen, I'll bet a kilt doesn't need washing as often, and the underwear problem just won't exist.

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"So they'll get their undies washed in recycled pee? lovely"

Sounds like the laundry service I used once in Alabama ...

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Thumb Up

3-4 Days?

Smeg, Kryten knows if you turn pants inside out and they'll last at least 2 months.

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WTF?

Also used on ships?

Is there a shortage of water on ships? If so, might I suggest that the crew aren't looking hard enough?

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FAIL

Sea water? Really?

You might want to look up the meaning of "corrosion".

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Silver badge

Water water every ware ...

but not a drop to drink.

I suggest you try wearing salt encrusted under ware for a week or two.

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Thumb Up

Vacuum to the rescue?

Those of you suggesting that they just "hang them outside" might really be on to something. The vacuum should desiccate and disperse quite a bit of undesirable material. A little pre-treatment with some type of catalytic agent might do the rest; that would need to squeezed/spun out of the clothes before "airing the dirty laundry," and would ideally be reusable.

Down-to-earth dry cleaning is interesting, but I suspect would not get off the ground due to the risk of the chemicals' leaking into the confined crew compartment.

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Anonymous Coward

"nauts will wear underwear for 3-4 days"

You say that like it was unusual.

They have a similar problem on submarines. They just stuff the lot into a tube and fire it out when it gets too unbearable and they are heading home.

But, seriously -- jcloth style paper kecks -- then out the airlock. Solved.

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Stop

NOT solved

It might be you on a Virgin Galactic flight in 5 years time when your lovely view of Earth from LEO is rudely interrupted by a pair of shit-stained jcloth style paper kecks smashing through your window and then your skull at 20,000 km/h. It's exactly that kind of "out the airlock" mentality that's starting to make orbiting this planet an exercise in rocket dodgems...

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Anonymous Coward

True, it adds to the orbital detritus

But you are just as likely to be hit (if you are going to be hit) by a lump of naturally occurring primordial iron.

Virgin Galactic won't be happening in five years time. In five years time no one will be prepared to take the insurance risk of the whole venture. You'd better believe that.

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Joke

Just get used to the crustiness - don't dehydrate tho otherwise a raspy annulled anus might result?

ps: it is the spellchecker

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Joke

On three to four days...

My brother in law says:

Inside, outside, frontside, backside. Sounds about right.

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Hand operated tumble washer.

Any decent camping supplier can provide.

Same principle:- a screw top bucket left to roll about in the boot of the car also works marvelously.

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Anonymous Coward

Bonus for poo incinerator output as washing machine input

Poo incinerator output goal is CO2 + water. Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the uses of Carbon Dioxide...

"Liquid carbon dioxide is a good solvent for many lipophilic organic compounds and is used to remove caffeine from coffee. Carbon dioxide has attracted attention in the pharmaceutical and other chemical processing industries as a less toxic alternative to more traditional solvents such as organochlorides. It is used by some dry cleaners for this reason. (See green chemistry.)"

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Coat

Not toxic, just highly unstable...

Presumably the most cost effective method would be some kind of groinal attachment for dealing with the curry stains.

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