4
$\begingroup$

An answer and a comment on a related question, got me wondering. What would happen if you tried to use a bidet to clean up after doing your business without gravity.

Water does not behave in space the same as it does on Earth. Could a bidet be used to clean up without making a mess in the ISS?

Watch Water Become Zero-Grav Jello on the International Space Station - ICTMN.com Water

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps if the water were warmed up to reduce it's surface tension ... ? $\endgroup$ – Everyone Mar 3 '15 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ How much impact does a few degrees have on the surface tension? I was also thinking about managing the free floating water. In the video that goes with the image, there is ongoing water recovery during the demo. $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Mar 3 '15 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ I'd heat it so it is distinctly hot without being so hot it may scald; that would be a score or thereabouts. The relationship is almost linear ... better than linear if the water contains impurities. $\endgroup$ – Everyone Mar 4 '15 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ The picture frightens me for some reason; water is scary stuff in zero gee. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 17 at 3:16
7
$\begingroup$

A bidet can be used in micro-gravity, if you isolate the lower torso with a velcro-fitted cover and employ a vacuum hose to recover spent water.

However, this is rather inefficient in terms of water and electricity consumption. All of the water would be considered wastewater/"grey" water and will have to go through a series of filters and tanks/canisters. Considering the (substantial) burden of managing toilets aboard the ISS, this would reduce crew time available for science. Wet wipes are more cost-effective right now.

In terms of engineering required, a functioning bidet will be akin to a working shower. A shower, a bidet, re-usable washable garments and more comfortable ways of urinating and taking a dump are the basic elements of ECLSS of the future, where humans won't have to endure space travel but to live and relish it.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.