Hats off for this remarkable and historic feat of engineering: NASA has debuted a new toilet, the first in decades, and it was designed with women in mind.
In all seriousness, the new toilet — which resembles a pressure cooker but is made of titanium and worth $23 million dollars — is an incredible, albeit long overdue, development. While using the loo in zero gravity is not a particularly straightforward task for anyone, it’s especially hard for women, as the toilets at the International Space Station have historically been catered toward men. Enter the shiny new toilet, which is taller than current models and features a more tilted seat, and will making using the bathroom a more pleasant experience for all sexes. Perhaps the most exciting feature of this new toilet is that its funnels allow women to go number one and number two at the same time, which apparently was not doable in the past.
While this major toilet news is certainly worth celebrating, the toilet still has a few hurdles to clear before it’s officially open for business. Once the toilet makes it to the ISS — which was supposed to have already happened but was delayed — residents will test it out for a few months to ensure it’s as mess-free as promised. If it delivers, then it’ll be free for all to use, and will certainly be appreciated. At the ISS, there’s currently only one U.S. toilet, which was designed in the 1990s, and the number of residents will soon increase from six to seven. In the future, the toilet may even see the moon, as it was designed to fit inside capsules that will transport astronauts in a few years.
I just have one critique: For a $23 million toilet, it certainly could’ve been cuter. Perhaps something for toilet engineers — or anyone submitting toilet designs as part of NASA’s “Lunar Loo Challenge” — to consider the next time around.