For astronauts, going to the bathroom has an entirely different meaning.
In a microgravity environment, flatulence, which contains flammable gases, like hydrogen and firedamp, can more easily ignite.
An astronauts can be blown away by his or her own intestinal gas, which can also pollute the air inside space capsules, according to Li Tanqiu, an aerospace expert.
American and Russian astronauts have confessed that, in space, there is no such thing as toilet humor.
Chinese scientists have installed a home-made "space toilet" in the Shenzhou VI spaceship, which launched Wednesday for China's first multi-piloted, multi-day space mission. The mission has drastically complicated what was only a minor issue in China's first manned space trial, in which the lone astronaut, Yang Liwei, stayed in space for less than one day.
But China has found a smart solution. Astronauts aboard Shenzhou VI are using a soft plastic hose and air-pumping device in the toilet that conveniently sucks waste into a fixed container, according to Li.
(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2005)