The trip to Mars...
... just got a whole lot smellier.
Four astronauts departed the International Space Station on Monday, and made their way safely back to Earth wearing diapers after their SpaceX capsule's toilet broke down. NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet departed for terra firma a little …
The 787 that last took me to Disneyland had a toilet largely held together with silver gaffer tape, which I took at the time as a pragmatic response to an in-service failure. The fact that the same gaffer tape was in place on the return 14 days later suggested this was either a very common occurrence or TUI simply couldn't afford to take the aircraft out of service for repairs. Perhaps they should have issued a pair of TENA pants and complementary tub of Sudocrem?
There were no spacecraft with toilets on board before the Space Shuttle, and there hasn't been one since. Soyuz has never had a toilet. Arguably, this is a return to standard space plumbing, although it sounds like SpaceX has already fixed the problem for future flights.
As someone else pointed out, Boeing didn't even put a toilet in Starliner, although maybe that's because they never expected it to fly.
Not exactly true: all Salyut (Almaz) space stations had toilets, as did Skylab.
It's true that no capsule system I know of has a toilet, but they're basically space taxis for getting to/from something bigger. (I'm not certain of the toilet arrangements aboard the Chinese Shenzhou system.)
There are toilets on small private jets, which amount to one of the rear seats with a curtain round. Remove the cushion and the bog is waiting. Nobody ever wants to use these, so experienced travellers make sure they are prepared for the journey, and do not partake the onboard refreshment until they are sure they are home "dry". Inexperienced travellers soon learn to do the same. People who are unwell should not step aboard.
...that spent about that long in nappies whilst driving across the country to bother an ex, or something?
Edit: It was Lisa Nowak who did a long road trip to bother an ex's girlfriend. Loosely made into a film "Lucy in the Sky" (according to wiki, I've not watched it).
The Gemini 7 mission in 1965 set a record for long-duration flight aboard a capsule, in which astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell spent just short of 14 days in Earth orbit in a tin can with roughly the interior dimensions of a SMART PlusTwo, and no toilet. They were investigating the human body's ability to withstand spaceflight for the duration of an Apollo mission to the moon and back.
... The sanitary arrangements were crude, to say the least.
NASA are cagey about the precise details, but it's rumoured that Lovell and Borman went almost six days before one of them cracked and broke out the "defecation kit", which was basically a plastic bag the astronaut had to tape to their ass before taking a dump. They then had to use a finger cot -- basically a finger-sized condom -- to scrape any cling-ons into the bag, break a capsule of disinfectant inside it, and mix the contents thoroughly before storing it under the seat. And that's the system all the Apollo missions used.
>Things Nasa does better that private companies:
BSFA members will of course remember Bob Shaw's innovative suggestion that they should use the pee as a reaction fluid. Harnessing the fluid-multiplying effects of beer, his ship the Urin-8 had a bar at one end and reaction propellant tanks at the other...
(he also speculated on Scottie's reaction to Kirk needing more power from the engines...)
I understand from Al Jazeera that South Korea is having a supply chain crisis because they are out of urea, which apparently is required to make South Korean diesel engines go. (I am not making this up.) Connecting a few dots, it seems to me that SpaceX can turn used diapers, or nappies if you prefer, into a new business opportunity.
My coat too, please.