US$23 million toilet heads to space

We know space travel isn’t cheap but when the toilet for the trip costs US$23 million, it puts everything into perspective.

NASA’s new space toilet for the International Space Station undergoes testing at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo: NASA)

NASA will send a new toilet to the International Space Station with the mind-boggling price tag this week, as the agency prepares for furture trips to the moon or Mars.

Now, you may wonder why a toilet would ever cost so much, and even with the scientific explanation given, we’re also still perplexed. But we didn’t go to space school and, truthfully, never really thought about having to go while in space.

So here’s the deal with the fancy space toilet, or more specifically ‘Universal Waste Management System’.

The toilet is 65 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than the toilet now being used on the space station and can support larger crews. It will also need to be able to perform well in a microgravity environment while optimising mass volume and power usage, which are all important parts of space-related designs.

The titanium system will also improve the pretreatment system which collects and treats urine before it is processed and recycled for reclaimed water.

The toilet is roughly 28 inches tall and has an automatic starting system so.

Talk about boldly going where no man has gone before!