Scientists from NASA are developing a new type of spacesuit that will include a built-in waste disposal system. It will allow astronauts to remain inside their suits for a total of six days in case something goes wrong. The new suits are called the Orion Crew Survival Systems Suits (OCSSS) and will be worn by NASA’s astronauts aboard its Orion spacecraft.
Though the Orion will have a toilet on board, NASA wants to make contingency plans in case the Orion’s capsule depressurizes and the astronauts have to remain in their suits in order to survive. Current spacesuits come with a type of diapers known as Maximum Absorbency Garments. Astronauts generally do not stay inside a suit for more than 10 hours at a time. Once outside their suits, astronauts use the on board toilets.
According to reports, the spacecraft that carried humans to the moon had no toilets. In order to collect urine, astronauts had to wear catheter-like attachments with a tube which pulled the waste to a bag outside the suit. Problems arose when designing an in-suit, urine collection system for women. Speaking to Space.com, NASA engineer Kirstyn Johnson said, "For females, it gets a little harder because of the geometry of a person’s body, and then you have to deal with issues like pubic hair." As of now, the female urine-disposal system is not completely developed and since some of its aspects are proprietary, Johnson said she cannot release details.