Currently, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) wear underwear and clothing until the items become unusable due to dirt and an unpleasant smell, and then throw them away. NASA intends to teach them how to take care of their clothes. Together with a major powder manufacturer, the agency expects to find a method for cleaning clothes in space so that they can be reused for several months or even years, as on Earth.
So, at the end of this year, NASA plans to send several sets of laundry products to the ISS. From December 2021, scientists will observe how enzymes and other ingredients react to six months of weightlessness. Then, in May 2022, the astronauts will be delivered stain removal products and wipes.
At the same time, the manufacturer Kopania is developing a combined washing and drying machine that could work on the Moon or Mars, using a minimum amount of water and detergent. Such a machine can also be useful in arid regions of the Earth.