Tide is making the world’s first space detergent to enable astronauts to wash clothes in space.
The Procter & Gamble (P&G) laundry brand has partnered with NASA to explore how to clean astronauts’ clothes aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as well as on future crewed missions to the moon and Mars. Under the terms of the new Space Act Agreement, NASA may study Tide’s cleaning solutions, while the company works to bring the lessons from its off-planet tests to its line of everyday consumer products for use on Earth.
Due to the lack of means to wash clothes while on a mission, astronauts generally wear their clothes and discard them by packing them in the trash, which burns up in the atmosphere aboard discarded cargo ships. NASA and Tide will begin testing them as early as 2022 and sees an important role for innovation in future space exploration endeavours.
“Humanity has reached a pivotal point where on one hand, we’re on the exciting cusp of space colonization, and on the other, facing a critical period where action must be taken now to save the planet we all call home,” said senior VP of Procter & Gamble North America Aga Orlik in a statement. “The collaboration with NASA and the ISS National Lab is particularly exciting because it allows us to push the bounds of resource efficiency to its absolute limit, uncovering learnings with practical applications for both the future of laundry in space and here on Earth.”
“This partnership was created to rethink cleaning solutions. Forcing us to rethink innovations for resource-constrained and challenging environments like the ISS, deep space and even the future of our home planet,” Orlik added.
In addition to the tests on the space station, NASA and Tide researchers may study how a combined washing and drying unit utilizing Tide’s specially-formulated detergent could potentially be integrated into planetary habitats for use under low-gravity, lunar and Martian surface conditions