Right now, astronauts onboard the International Space Station have to wear a set of clothing multiple times before completely replacing them with a new set. The process is not only costly but also consumes additional resources when NASA has to send shipments up into space, and so the agency has tapped into Procter & Gamble‘s Tide brand to develop a solution that can allow astronauts to do their laundry on the ISS itself without compromising the closed-loop water system.
The resulting solution comes in the form of Tide pens and wipes, which can remove odors and stains from clothing without requiring washing machines or any interference with the water systems. NASA and Tide will begin testing them as early as 2022, and sees an important role for the innovation in future space exploration endeavors, which will see humanity begin colonizing the Moon and Mars.
“Humanity has reached a pivotal point where on one hand, we’re on the exciting cusp of space colonization, and on the other, facing a critical period where action must be taken now to save the planet we all call home,” said senior VP of Procter & Gamble North America Aga Orlik in a statement. “The collaboration with NASA and the ISS National Lab are particularly exciting because it allows us to push the bounds of resource efficiency to its absolute limit, uncovering learnings with practical applications for both the future of laundry in space and here on Earth.”
Elsewhere in space-related news, NASA has just launched dozens of baby squids into space.