Space tourism firm Space Perspective has unveiled designs for a "space spa" to be fitted in their Spaceship Neptune capsules, which they hope to begin launching in 2024.
During the early days of the Apollo missions, NASA didn't think about peeing and pooping too much. When the first American man – Alan Shepard – went into space, they made no plans at all for if he needed the bathroom. The trip was only supposed to be short, so they figured he'd be able to hold it. However, due to delays prior to launch, Shepherd had to wait on the launchpad for hours and ended up having to pee himself.
For longer trips, NASA did put more thought into the problem. Before Apollo 12, this involved astronauts going into collection bags. For poop, this involved a "fecal bag" they positioned over the anus. For pee, astronauts would insert their penis into a tube with a rubber, condom-like end. This caused problems of its own, as the US astronauts – all male before Sally Ride became the first US woman in space in 1983 – tended to ask for the largest size, resulting in the sheaths coming off and leaving them with pee pee in their space suits.
Space toilets have moved on somewhat since then – not least being designed to accommodate women – but are still a bit of a downside of space travel. Not so on board the Spaceship Neptune capsule, which avoids the problems of toilets in a weightless environment by not being in one. The capsule will be carried to the "edge of space" by a balloon, where tourists can view the Earth below while still enjoying its gravity.
The company took advantage of this, creating a toilet where you can enjoy the view of the Earth while doing your Earthly business.
“The Space Spa is the one place in the capsule’s interior where Explorers will be able to have a moment of solitude,” designer at Space Perspective Isabella Trani said in a press release. “So, it was imperative that it felt like a retreat. Explorers will find this environment cocooning and comforting with no sharp edges, which adds to the ambience and creates a very welcoming place."
As well as being the best view you've ever seen while taking a poop (let's face it, the competition is basically doors) cleanliness is also considered.
"On a practical level, the design benefits cleanliness with surfaces that are easy to wipe down, not to mention sound and odor control through the padding and greenery.”
The company is aiming for a luxury experience for its guests, including serving "world-class" food and offering ultra-comfy seats and, for those who get bored of the view, Wi-Fi access.
The company says that they have sold 1,600 tickets already for a trip aboard what they describe as the world's only carbon-neutral spaceship.