Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Space Station Stinks

For all its technological wizardry and space age capabilities, NASA's International Space Station is now comparable to a third world country's rural toilet facilities - it stinks. The space agency has verified reports that the facility has failed, adding that the astronauts have an urgent need for spare parts. NASA may have hit the technical need fully, but missed the human need completely. The immediate need is actually for a working urinal so they could relieve themselves. Otherwise, they would be quivering out there in space for want of getting their bladders emptied.

The problem lies with the fan that draws liquids into the waste chamber before it is ejected into the atmosphere to burn. Thankfully, the Russian made toilet can handle solids, but disposal of liquids is proving impossible. Waste disposal has always been a problem in space because gravity fed systems do not work in orbit. Air pressure is used to suck waste from the toilet. At the moment, one can only imagine days old urine floating inside the space station, and no one should be having diarrhea until the system is fixed.

This problem with orbital plumbing happened once in 1984 when Shuttle astronauts had to urinate on plastic bags and store them on board. The malfunctioning toilet developed urine icicles that were damaging heat resistant tiles. No one was reported to have mistaken these for popsicle treats though. But it is inconceivable to think that man goes out into space exploration with all the sophistication he can muster, yet fail at the most ordinary system that would serve the astronauts needs. And what will astronauts do when the solid waste disposal malfunctions too, hold it all in?

This fantasy with space stations, involving tons of physical and financial resources when these could be used to solve the many problems we still face on earth, seems rather senseless. The rationale for exploration is to conduct scientific research that cannot be done on the planet, or a place for business to produce materials in better forms, or as staging points for expeditions to other planets to build colonies and cities to reduce overpopulation on earth. But all these are only for the moneyed class who are a tiny minority. The rest of the world will not be able to afford such dreams. By the time they accomplish these, Earth's deprived resources and damaged systems would have obliterated half the population.

What follows exploration? Conquest? If there are beings in other parts of the universe as the Vatican implies, are we going on a Crusade against them? Can we be victorious or will it only succeed in bringing them here to annihilate all humans? If the program of colonization can be achieved in 30 years, we should make
John McCain commander of the flagship spacecraft. He would be more than willing to extend the space war for a hundred years. Provided, he is not shot down and breaks both his arms and a leg as he ejects. They will probably torture him with young maidens without any provision for viagra.



The Immortal said...

They haven't fully figured out how to manage waste disposal and they have the nerve to go into colonizing and creating communities? What a dream!

This malfunction may turn literally into the "shit hitting the fan" if the solids disposal system conk out too. Space may the last frontier for the earth's waste. Ha!

SheR. said...

Hahahah.. stinky toilet problems are not only found in China!
Sorry this is too funny a post. :P
What's the point of the Space Station? So that all the world presidents have a place to hide if ever there is a world war and earth is no longer habitable! Hoorah!!!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Immortal,

Right now, all those people manning the space station are experiments themselves. They are being tested to see how long they can be in confined areas without sunlight (I presume) nor fresh air. I don't know if they take baths.

Do they do any cooking? I don't think so. How they can say this thing is exciting I don't understand. For short periods perhaps, but after a month? Boring.:-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Sher,

Out in space is a stinking toilet. Sounds funny huh?

I agree with you on the idea of the space station as an escape route for the powers that be and the very rich.And yet, they are using money made from the sweat of all the ordinary people they exploit in our planet for them to live there.

If this turns out to be true, I hope they live in stink for the rest of their days.LOL! :-) --Durano, done!

Anonymous said...

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