Splashdown could lead to splashback as four astronauts will be forced to wear mess-friendly 'undergarments' on their return journey from the International Space Station, NASA has revealed.
An ongoing problem with the toilet onboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsules means that astronauts returning to Earth this month won't be able to use the bathroom until they land.
As a result, they'll be forced to wear something resembling nappies, according to NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager, Steve Stich.
During its last outing, in which four civilians spent three days in orbit, a SpaceX Crew Dragon reportedly sprang a major leak in zero-gravity.
An alarm went off when urine apparently got sucked into a fan system and sprayed out of the toilet in all directions.
Luckily, the leak was contained to a storage area under the floor, which meant the crew were able to avoid getting drenched.
Scientists at NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX investigated other Crew Dragon shuttles and found out they had the same problem—as did the four intrepid nappy-wearing astronauts aboard the ISS.
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SpaceX has been working to fix the problem on future flights, but for the astronauts who have been aboard the Space Station since April, there's no time to call out a plumber as their Crew Dragon capsule is still up there with them.
The crew should be fine for now as the space station has its own toilets, but once they start their journey home, they'll have to resort to the 'undergarments'.
NASA have not said how long the journey home will take from the ISS, but it could be anywhere between six and nineteen hours judging from previous trips. The astronauts will just have to go before they leave.
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