Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ISS does not smell like old feet

I work with Ed Lu, who is a former astronaut who spent 6 months in the ISS, without taking a shower. I asked the obvious question, didn't you and everything else just stink?

No. Ed says that the air conditioning/purification system was ridiculously good, so much so that the only time you ever smelled anything was when you opened a food packet. Even then, the smell was whisked away pretty quickly.

I asked if there was problems with vapor from breathing condensing all over the interior of the spacecraft walls. Apparently not. The thing has hot spots as well as cold spots, and heat pipes to balance it all out, and lots of insulation over that. Apparently stuff doesn't freeze. Given that the thing is cold soaked in sub-liquid-nitrogen temps 45 of every 90 minutes, I'm amazed. I was expecting a story of two-inch-thick ice sheets on the interior walls.