SpaceX sent Tide detergent to astronauts on the ISS so they can figure out how to wash clothes for long-distance trips to Mars

  • Astronauts on it ISS received a shipment of goods on board a SpaceX spacecraft on Wednesday.
  • The shipment included specially developed washing clothes detergent made of Tide.

SpaceX shipped a festive shipment of items up to astronauts on the International Space Station on Wednesday, including Christmas presents, fried turkey and detergent.

The detergent is made by Proctor and Gamble, the company that owns Tide, and is for a serious scientific experiment.

The astronauts aboard the ISS will experiment with the specially developed detergent to see how well it washes clothes in space.

The partnership with Tide was announced back in June, and according to Proctor and Gamble, astronauts on the ISS are currently wearing clothing several times before just replacing it with a new set. New clothes are delivered to them via shipments from Earth.

The Tide detergent trials will also help NASA find out how astronauts on future manned missions to the moon and Mars could wash their clothes.

“Without a washing solution, 160 pounds of clothing per crew member per year will be sent to the ISS,” the press release said.

“When you start having longer trips out into space, laundry is a must-have,” Mark Sivik, senior director and research fellow at Proctor and Gamble, told Space.com.

Per Space.com estimates NASA that without laundry, astronauts would need 500 pounds of clothing each to take the trip to Mars.

“What we have developed here is fully degradable and designed to work within the space station’s closed loop system,” Sivik told Space.com.

Next year, according to Tide’s June press release, the company intends to ship stain-removing products, including Tide To Go Wipes and Tide To Go Pens, which astronauts can test in microgravity.

NASA plans to return humans to the moon in 2025. Then it plans to build a lunar base from which to send astronauts to Mars.

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