What you learned in the dorm or in the frat house about laundry might just help you land a job at NASA. If you’re an engineering grad or junior engineer, NASA could just offer you a spot in designing a laundry machine for the international space station.
Astronauts and cosmonauts are spending longer and longer periods in a space station that seems smaller by the week—or month. That means, the laundry’s got to be piling up. And nobody wants to work around someone wearing last week’s t-shirts and knickers.
To solve the problem, NASA has commissioned Oregon-based UMPQUA to build a prototype low-power, low-water washing machine that would allow astronauts to do their laundry in space. Up to now, astronauts have had to wear the same undies until the “fragrance” forced them to pack "ripe" clothes in a Progress capsule to be incinerated in the atmosphere.
Known for its multi-mission flexibility, NASA insists the washing machine be suitable for “any long-term space mission where re-supply logistics preclude routine delivery of fresh crew clothing and removal of disposable clothing articles.” In other words, design a system that works on the Moon or even Mars.
Since liquid water can be rather problematic in zero gravity (you don’t want water blobs floating into the space station’s sensitive electronics), the proposed washing machine would utilize a mix of vapor, air, and microwave rays to get clothes clean and soft (earlier low-water vacuum pressing systems left clothes a bit coarse).
For an added perspective, check out this video:
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.