This material is provided as a public service to support the student Space Settlement Contest. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of NASA or any other government body.
WHO'S EARTH By Russell
"WHERE!?" By Carl Sagan
Steel asteroids * A House in Space
THERE AIN'T NO GRACEFUL WAY Astronaut Russell Sweickart talking to Peter Warshall
CONTROVERSY IS RIFE ON MARS interviewing Carl Sagan and Lynn Margolis
Education for Space work * The Directory of Aerospace Education
Colonies in Space * Space Age Review * Earth/Space News
Space Settlements * Space Manufacturing Facilities * Spaceflight * JBIS
Concise Atlas of the Universe * Sky and Telescope * Astronomical Calendar
OLBERS' PARADOX by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
SOLAR SAILING By Eric Drexler * Heliogyro solar sail
OPERATING ON THE EDGE Russell Sweickart Talking
JERRY BROWN - FROM LIMITS ON EARTH TO POSSIBLITIES IN SPACE
INSTEAD OF FRICTIONLESS ELEPHANTS Talking with GERARD O'NEILL
The long view
By RUSSELL SWEICKART
Like a long, pauseless prayer, astronaut Russell Schweickart spoke these words in the summer of '74 before a brainy group meeting on ''Planetary Culture'' at the spiritual community of Lindisfarne, Long Island.
Schweickart himself seemed amazed at what he was saying, amazed at the gathering he was attending, amazed - still - at the events which led him to drift bodily free between Earth and Universe. Remember the starchild at the end of''2001''? Like that.
This is just the conclusion of his tape - $6.50 for the cassette from the Lindisfarne Association, Box 1395, Southhampton, NY 11968
Up there you go around every hour and a half, time after time after time. You wake up usually in the mornings. And just the way that the track of your orbits go, you wake up over the Mid-East, over North Africa. As you eat breakfast you look out the window as you're going past and there's the Mediterranean area, and Greece, and Rome, and North Africa, and the Sinai, the whole area. And you realize that in one glance that what you're seeing is what was the whole history of man for years - the cradle of civilization. And you think of all that history that you can imagine, looking at that scene.
And you go around down across North Africa and out over the Indian Ocean, and look up at that great subcontinent of India pointed down toward you as you go past it. And Ceylon off to the side, Burma, Southeast Asia, out over the Philippines, and up across that monstrous Pacific Ocean, vast body of water - you've never realized how big that is before.
And you finally come up across the coast of California and look for those friendly things: Los Angeles, and Phoenix, and on across El Paso and there's Houston, there's home, and you look and sure enough there's the Astrodome. And you identify with that, you know - it's an attachment.
And down across New Orleans and then looking down to the south and there's the whole peninsula of Florida laid out. And all the hundreds of hours you spent flying across that route, down in the atmosphere, all that is friendly again. And you go out across the Atlantic Ocean and back across Africa.
And you do it again and again and again.
And that identity - that you identify with Houston, and then you identify with Los Angeles, and Phoenix and New orleans and everything. And the next thing you recognize in yourself, is you're identifying with North Africa. You look forward to that, you anticipate it. And there it is. That whole process begins to shift of what it is you identify with. When you go around it in an hour and a half you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. And that makes a change.
You look down there and you can't imagine how many borders and boundaries you crossed again and again and again. And you don't even see 'em. At that wake-up scene - the MID-EAST - you know there are hundreds of people killing each other over some imaginary line that you can't see. From where you see it, the thing is a whole, and it's so beautiful. And you wish you could take one from each side in hand and say, "Look at it from this perspective. Look at that. What's important?"
And so a little later on, your friend, again those same neighbors, another astronaut, the person next to you goes out to the Moon. And now he looks back and he sees the Earth not as something big, where he can see the beautiful details, but he sees the Earth as a small thing out there. And now that contrast between that bright blue and white Christmas tree ornament and that black sky, that infinite universe, really comes through. The size of it, the significance of it - it becomes both things, it becomes so small and so fragile, and such a precious little spot in that universe, that you can block it out with your thumb, and you realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing is everything that means anything to you. All of history and music and poetry and art and war and death and birth and love, tears, joy, games, all of it is on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb.
And you realize that that perspective . . . that you've changed, that there's something new there. That relationship is no longer what it was. And then you look back on the time when you were outside on that EVA and those few moments that you had the time because the camera malfunctioned, that you had the time to think about what was happening. And you recall staring out there at the spectacle that went before your eyes. Because now you're no longer inside something with a window looking out at a picture, but now you're out there and what you've got around your head is a goldfish bowl and there are no limits here. There are no frames, there are no boundaries. You're really out there, over it, floating, going 25,000 mph, ripping through space, a vacuum, and there's not a sound. There's a silence the depth of which you've never experienced before, and that silence contrasts so markedly with the scenery, with what you're seeing, and the speed with which you know you're going. That contrast, the mix of those two things, really comes through.
And you think about what you're experiencing and why. Do you deserve this? This fantastic experience? Have you earned this in some way? Are you separated out to be touched by God to have some special experience here that other men cannot have? You know the answer to that is No. There's nothing that you've done that deserves that, that earned that. It's not a special thing for you. You know very well at that moment, and it comes through to you so powerfully, that you're the sensing element for man.
You look down and see the surface of that globe that you've lived on all this time and you know all those people down there. They are like you, they are you, and somehow you represent them when you are up there - a sensing element, that point out on the end, and that's a humbling feeling. It's a feeling that says you have a responsibility. It's not for yourself.
The eye that doesn't see does not do justice to the body. That's why it's there, that's why you're out there. And somehow you recognize that you're a piece of this total life. You're out on that forefront and you have to bring that back, somehow. And that becomes a rather special responsibility. It tells you something about your relationship with this thing we call life. And so that's a change, that's something new.
And when you come back, there's a difference in that world now, there's a difference in that relationship between you and that planet, and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you've had that kind of experience. It's a difference, and it's so precious. And all through this I've used the word you because it's not me, it's not Dave Scott, it's not Dick Gordon, Pete Conrad, John Glenn, it's you, it's us, it's we, it's life. It's had that experience. And it's not just my problem to integrate, it's not my challenge to integrate, my joy to integrate - it's yours, it's everybody's.
I guess that's really about all I'd like to say, except that - and I don't even know why, but to me it means a lot - I'd like to close this with a poem by E. E. Cummings that has just become a part of me, somehow out of all this, and I'm not really sure how. He says, that
I thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.
By CARL SAGAN
There is a place with four suns in the sky--red, white, blue,
two of them are so close together that they touch, and star-stuff flows
I know of a world with a million moons.
I know of a sun the size of the Earth - and made of diamond.
There are atomic nuclei a few miles across which rotate thirty times a second.
There are tiny grains between the stars, with the size and atomic composition of bacteria.
There are stars leaving the Milky Way, and immense gas clouds falling into it.
There are turbulent plasmas writhing with X - and gamma-rays and mighty stellar explosions.
There are, perhaps, places which are outside our universe.
We ran this provocative quote on the cover of the Fall 1970 Whole Earth catalog and Sagan re-used it in his recent Cosmic Connection (EPILOG, p. 457). In 1973 we phoned him at his home in Ithaca, NY, for details. Come on where?
The place with four suns in the sky. . . four different colors. . . and in touch . . Well, first of all, most of the stars in the sky are not lone stars like the Sun but are binary or multiple star systems. A fair fraction of binary stars are called "contact binaries", in which the gravitational attraction of the more master star pulls matter out of the less master star - it flows from the donor to the receiver. Now, there are many cases where two binaries orbit each other. Two stars are revolving around a common center of mass. Another two stars are revolving around their center of mass, and the two centers of mass revolve around each other.
Now, as far as color goes, the Sun is a yellow dwarf. A highly evolved star, like the Sun will be in another five billion years or so, is called a red giant. A red giant usually winds up as a white dwarf. And a very hot star but still in middle age like the Sun is called a blue dwarf.
A world with a million moons. . . is Saturn. The Rings of Saturn are composed of snowballs which are certainly less than a meter across, perhaps ten centimeters across. There are millions of such snowballs making up the rings of Saturn.
A sun the size of the Earth and made of diamond . . . Many white dwarfs fit that description. Where hydrogen has been substantially lost they are crystals, stars which are crystals, and they're cold and cooling still more. So, for example, Sirius has a white dwarf companion. It was the first one discovered, but there are enormous numbers of such white dwarfs, many of which are made largely of carbon in crystal form. Therefore diamond is the correct description.
An atomic nucleus a mile across that rotates thirty times a second . . . is a neutron star, which is the end product of the evolution of a star more massive that the Sun. It becomes, not a white dwarf, but a neutron star. That is, it's composed entirely of nucleons - the elementary particles which make up the nucleus of atoms. Therefore they are atomic nuclei. And a mile across is how dense the thing shrinks to before the nuclear forces between particles pull the thing up against subsequent gravitational collapse. And they're rotating thirty times a second because of the conservation of angular momentum.
A star like the Sun spins once a month. When it contracts down to a mile across it's spinning something like thirty times a second. A specific example - the one that rotates thirty times a second - is the pulsar in the Crab Nebula, which is a neutron star.
OK, Tiny grains between the stars with the size and atomic composition of bacteria . . . Well, there's some absolutely tremendous number of them. If you take a look at a typical dark nebula, like say the Horsehead Nebula, the dark stuff is the kind of grains I'm talking about.
Hm, Stars leaving the Milky Way . . . Gas clouds falling into the Milky Way. . . Well, again it's quite common. We are a star which is in the plane, one of the spiral arms, of the Milky Way. But there are, for example, stars of a sort called "M dwarfs" which are oscillating out of the plane of the Milky Way - they spend most of their time out of it.
OK, Turbulent plasmas writhing with X - and gamma-rays and mighty stellar explosions . . Again, the Crab Nebula. Not the star in the center of it, but the nebula itself, is a good example of this.
Places outside our universe . . . Is a black hole. The nearest object which is thought by many astronomers to be a black hole is Cygnus X1. I like to think of a black hole as a place where the gravity is so great that the fabric of space has become puckered - isolated from the rest of space so that light can't get out of it.
"Does that do it?'' he asked.
''Perfectly,'' said we. ''Another question: What have you read that electrified you lately?'' Sagan pondered, "Well I'll tell you the detective fiction of John D. MacDonald I find very interesting in terms of perception of character. Just for kicks it's far above Agatha Christie. . . Um, I've just reread The Odyssey. It's a good book. A lot of it takes place in Ithaca.'' ''Which translation?" ''Samuel Butler.''.
One can quite possibly turn a profit in supplying the surface of the earth with steel from the asteroid belt. The asteroids contain steel in chunks ranging from 100 kilometers in diameter down to dust. It is, in its native form, a strong, tough, ductile, and corrosion resistant material, and for engineering purposes, it is superior to most of the steel produced on the earth, because it contains about 5% nickel.
A House in Space
No book, including the ones by astronauts, has given so compelling an account of life in orbit. Henry Cooper, on assignment from The New Yorker, talked to all the participants in the three Skylab missions which accumulated a total of 171 days - nearly six months - in constant weightlessness What they found there were the kind of amazing occurrences that you will find yourself starting conversation with. The astronauts spent hours searching for lost objects that wandered off. Whenever they opened a drawer the stuff inside exploded out at them in slow-motion. Whichever way they stood in a room was "local down". The third crew went on strike. Fascinating problems, ingenious solutions in a definitively exotic environment.
A House in Space
Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr.
1976; 184 pp.
$8.95 postpaid from:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
383 Madison Ave.
New York, N Y 1 0017
or Whole Earth
An astronaut could almost select, with his eyes, which vertical he wanted to follow, the room's or his own private one. "All one has to do is to rotate one's body to (a new) orientation and whammo! What one thinks is up is up," said Kerwin, the first crew's science pilot, who had discovered the phenomenon. "It's a feeling as though one could take this whole room and, by pushing a button, just rotate it around so that the ceiling up here would be the floor. It's a marvelous feeling of power over space - over the space around one. Closing one's eyes, of course, makes everything go away. And now one's body is like a planet all to itself, and one really doesn't know where the outside world is."
The astronauts were continually surprised at how much time they spent looking not only at oceans and deserts but also at snowfields and mountainous areas, in none of which could they see any sign of life. In contrast to the Apollo astronauts who had looked back from the moon and described it as an oasis in space, the Skylab astronauts thought the earth a barren place. The toughest part of the earth to survive in that they passed over, the third crewmen thought, was the area from Tibet across outer Mongolia. "There is nothing but a great big nothing out here now," Gibson said during the third mission. "Northern China, Outer Mongolia, and all that gold stuff: the Gobi Desert." Carr, especially, thought man had a tenuous foothold on his own planet, where the checkerboards of his cultivation seemed to be packed into the few temperate areas, or fringed the deserts and oceans like a green mold struggling for existence. "Not much of the earth is hospitable to man," he radioed down one day - as though Mission Control's presence there had somehow made it seem an alien place. "We don't occupy much of our world. We're crowded into small areas."
Lousma had said once, "A guy like me, who likes both sunsets and sunrises, mostly gets to see sunsets. But here, in space, every day we get sixteen of each." Whatever they were doing, the astronauts frequently crowded around the window at such times.
There Ain't No Graceful Way
Astronaut RUSSELL SCHWEICKART talking to Peter Warshall
This is a spillover from Peter Warshall's "Watershed Issue" (Winter 76-77) of The CQ. Peter, who is one of CQ's Land Use editors, was quizzing many of the participants in the Space Colony debate on how much they knew about their local watersheds. Schweickart and O'Neill did pretty well. After the discussion of Rusty's Virginia watershed, they got to talking about, er, going to the bathroom in Space, where water does not shed.
Peter Warshall: The thing that most people are really interested in, of course, is how you did it without gravity. That's what everyone asks: "Does it just float up?"
Russell Schweickart: Yeah, well it's kind of interesting Peter, because I just came back from a thing at Purdue University. I spent about two and a half days with a bunch of kids out there. It was a really nice program and I had four kids who were sort of my personal hosts and hostesses, and we really got into that line of material. You're right, everybody wants to know. That'd be kind of fun sometime, to just sit down and put together a whole article on how you do it in zero-g. Satisfy everybody's scatological curiosity.
It's something everybody's afraid to touch. Well, look if you've got a couple of minutes, I can describe a little bit of it to you. It's the end of the day, and why not.
Warshall: I'd love to hear it.
Schweickart: Well, of course there are basically two regimes. one is in the space suit and the other is out of the space suit. While you're in the space suit - which people always really mistake as a long period of time - we really wear the space suits relatively little. In Apollo and Skylab we wore the suits during launch and took them off shortly after getting into orbit, and put them on again only for EVA's (extra vehicle activities). So you can figure out how much time that is. And then again, depending on the mission, sometimes we wore them for entry and other times we did not. So you're basically talking about hours, maybe, depending again on the mission; anywhere from say, 4 to 20 hours, out of anything from 8 to 80 days.
Warshall: It's not really that much.
Schweickart: Yeah, it's not that much. But it's a fairly critical time, you know. When you're in there you don't have much choice, so you've got to design for it. Okay. So in the suit, for urine you use like a motorman's bag, which is basically composed of a bladder that holds about - boy, my numbers are really slipping Peter - but something between a liter and two liters, if I remember. A rubber bladder type of thing that sort of fits around your hips, and a rollon cuff which is essentially a condom with the end cut out that's rolled over a flapper-type valve, you know, just a rubber flapper valve. It forms a one-way check valve.
Warshall: Oh, I see, so you don't have to do anything.
Schweickart: No, you don't do anything. You just roll it on as part of the suit-donning procedure, and then urinate into it through the one-way valve. There are lots of little cute problems and uncertainties Unless you're an extremely unusual person, since the time you were about a year and a half old or so, you probably have not taken a leak laying flat on your back. And if you think that's easy, let me tell you, you've got some built-in psychological or survival programs, or something which you've got to overcome. So that's a tricky little thing. And then there's always the possibility that in maneuvering around in a suit you can end up pulling off the condom, and there's always - we have three sizes you know, small, medium and large - in diameter, and there's always this little ego thing about which one you do pick. of course the smart guy picks the right size, because it's very important. But what happens is, if you get too small a size it effectively pinches off the flow and you just turn yellow because you can't go; and if, on the other hand you've got an ego problem and you decide on a large when you should have a medium, what happens is you take your first leak and you end up with half of the urine outside the bag on you. And that's the last time you make that mistake. So it's a cute little trick there.
In terms of defecation inside the suit, there ain't no graceful way to do it. So what we do is, we wear what's affectionately called a fecal containment system. The good old FCS is essentially like a pair of bermuda shorts with a hole for your penis to stick out of to roll on this other thing, but fairly well sealed around there.
It's a tight fitting elastic type garment, and it fits especially tight around the thighs and around the waist. And it's just like a pair of diapers is what it is. made of material which obviously is non-permeable but still breathes and all it does is contain it. Now, to my knowledge, nobody's ever had to use that. But you wear it, because if you don't wear it, the consequences are rather drastic. Okay. So that sort of takes care of the in-the-suit situation.
Warshall: Then you would take off that bermuda short type thing when you got back into the spacecraft. .
Schweickart: Yes, and you take off the transfer system, and if you'd used it, you transfer the urine into, well depending upon the policies on the particular mission, you either take a sample of it, for a scientific investigation, or you just dump it, one or the other.
In terms of not in the suit, and in the spacecraft again that's varied. In Apollo, for feces you just stuck a plastic bag on your butt which was 6 inches in diameter' something like that' maybe a little bit less 12 inches or so long and the mouth of it had a flange at the top with an adhesive on it, and you'd peel the coating off the adhesive and literally stick it to your butt. Hopefully centrally located. And if you think you know where your rear end is, you really find out, because you'd paste it on very carefully! So, you stick that to your butt, and then you go ahead and take a crap. But then the problem comes, because there's no particular reason whatsoever for the feces to separate from your rear end. So as a result the problem is left as an exercise to the student to peel the bag off and make sure everything stays within the bag, and get all wiped off. It's basically a one hour procedure.
Warshall: For each time?
Schweickart: Yeah, from the time you start to peel down to stick the bag on and all that, till the time you have finished cleaning up and have everything wrapped up and stowed and have your clothes back on and everything, it's damn near an hour. And at times it's taken longer. Because when you peel that bag off, you try to take a handful of paper, and you know, lead the way in with that, but by the time you get done, you've got stuff spread all over your backsides, and if you're not careful, your clothes, and everything else.
Warshall: Have you ever had an accident where the stuff got out of the bag?
Schweickart: No, because generally speaking it's fairly sticky so once it's in the bag it doesn't come out, but the problem is making sure it's loose of you when you get the bag off. It just is not a simple procedure, no matter what you do. Well, in any case, that was in Apollo.
In terms of the urine system , that was simple in Apollo. It's just the same as a relief tube in airplanes. It's a tube with a funnel on the end that you urinate into. And, at the other end of the tube is lower pressure than at the business end of it. So there's a differential pressure in the outward direction.
Well, we did exactly the same thing, except you know on the other end of the hose you've got a vacuum instead of a couple of psi down or something. So you just basically urinate into a relief tube. There have been various designs so you can use a roll-on cuff to do it or you can just hang it out there in the air and do it. There are a couple of different variations, but basically you urinated directly overboard through a relief tube. And of course, you didn't lose much cabin air, because while the liquid is in the tube, in the hose, no air is going down. It's differential pressure carrying the liquid. So it's only a matter of designing it for the right flow rate.
Warshall: They couldn't do that for feces, some kind of vacuum system?
Schweickart: Well, actually, in Skylab we did something similar to that. But on Apollo the urine then would go outside, and you'd have to heat the nozzle because, of course, it instantly flashes into ice crystals. And, in fact, I told Stewart this, the most beautiful sight in orbit, or one of the most beautiful sights, is a urine dump at sunset, because as the stuff comes out and as it hits the exit nozzle it instantly flashes into ten million little ice crystals which go out almost in a hemisphere, because, you know, you're exiting into essentially a perfect vacuum, and so the stuff goes in every direction, and all radially out from the spacecraft at relatively high velocity. It's surprising, and it's an incredible stream of . . . just a spray of sparklers almost. It's really a spectacular sight. At any rate that's the urine system on Apollo.
Now, when you come to Skylab, it's a little more sophisticated. We tried to get sophisticated before that, but it never really worked. But on Skylab, the problem was that the medical experiments required that we sample all the urine and return all the feces because we were trying to make a total metabolic analysis. We could no longer dump the urine overboard because we had to measure the volume and take samples. What we did was to substitute a fan for the vacuum, and again use basically the same design, that is use a relief tube type of thing, except that the differential pressure was supplied by a fan which would decrease the pressure inside a bladder. You would pool 24 hours worth of urine. Then, after 24 hours, once a day, every morning, you would measure the volume, shake it up, get it nice and homogeneous and then take a 10 ml. sample, seal it up and throw the rest down the trash airlock.
Warshall: So each man had his own relief tube?
Al Bean urinating in Skylab II. Just in front of his knee is the air-flushed fecal containment system which you back up to. There's no particular "up" in this picture. The surface nearest Al's head was the floor when the spacecraft was launched. Note soap floating by sink
Schweickart: So each man had his own relief tube and his own collection system, right. On feces, we got very clever. Again we designed a plastic bag, but in this case, one side of the bag - now let me think if I can remember the words there -
Warshall: Was it like a stopper or something?
Schweickart: Well, one side of the bag had a material on it which would pass gas but not liquid. oh yeah, a hydrophylic filter. And that bag, which again was something like 12 inches long and say 6 or 8 inches in diameter, got pushed down into a receptacle, and the receptacle was made of screen, and you drew a differential pressure across the bag with a fan so that the air flow was out through one side of the bag and of course sucked cabin air in through the top of the bag. okay? Now, there was a little seat that folded down over the top of the bag and then you sat on that little seat. Well, sat . . . you floated. In fact, you strapped yourself to the seat to make a fairly good seal there. Then what happened, as you sealed the open part of the seat with your rear end, there were side vents, circumferential vents, just under the seat, which allowed air to flow in from the side, and all of these little orifices - circumferential orifices - were directed at the exit point of your anus. So the air flow now, if you can picture it when the guy was sitting on it, the air flow would be in around the periphery of the seat, but all directed in little streams, like little jets, and then down through the bag and out the side of the bottom of the bag, see. So what happened then, is you ended up with air flow substituting for gravity. And it would cause the bolus, so-called, to separate from your anus. Then the air flow would carry it down into the major volume of the bag.
Warshall: Kind of floating it in air down there.
Schweickart: Yeah. You just use air and air flow to substitute for gravity, and that worked very well.
Schweickart: Surprisingly. And as a result you were able to take care of a defecation with relative ease and a lot shorter time. So the system worked well. But then after you did that, you sort of stuff the bag with wiping paper, seal it, then weigh it to get the mass, the wet mass, and then put it into a vacuum oven to bake, and evacuating all the water. Then you'd stick it in the stack with all the other cow pies and bring them all home for analysis. So all you got rid of was the water. You keep all the solid material.
Warshall: So you just kept it in the same bag and . . .
Schweickart: Yeah, you kept it in the same bag, and in fact, the vacuum system, the vacuum drying system, used the same port through the side of the bag to get rid of the water vapor.
Warshall: So then you needed only one for the crew, you didn't need one for each person?
Schweickart: Right. only one toilet to collect the solids, but each person had his own relief tube for urine.
Warshall: That's incredible.
Schweickart: It's really wild. And you know, people say, "Why don't you fly women?" Well, Jesus, I'd hate to think about the plumbing. You know, it's really funny, because a lot of the girls at Purdue asked that, "When are you going to take women in the program?" and I always throw that one out, the part about the plumbing requirement. We haven't had the proper plumbing in the past. Well, the fact of the matter is, we're designing it into shuttle. I don't know what it looks like, I haven't looked at any of the detailed design from Washington here, so I don't know what it looks like, but we are ready for women on this one.
Warshall: A lot of people were wondering what happens when you start dumping things into space. Like, what happens to the . . . do you use toilet paper, for instance?
Schweickart: Well, the only thing that gets dumped into space is the urine, and that no longer is dumped into space, or at least was not dumped during Skylab, but that was during the early, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. The fecal matter has always been stored on board.
Warshall: Oh, I see. People have visions of fecal matter and urine ruining space.
Schweickart: No, no. The only thing that is left floating around out there is principally water which instantly flashes into ice crystals and then subsequently under the influence of solar radiation, sublimates and ends up in a purely gaseous state and my guess is then, I would suspect, I'm not sure the interaction of sunlight on the gases at that altitude, but they either decay down to the lower atmosphere, or they get blown off. I'm not sure which.
Warshall: So somewhere out in space is just some sublimated water crystals floating around.
Warshall: Well you can see what they were worried about. Some day the sun's rays . . . blocked out by . . .
Schweickart: It's all stored aboard, so they don't have to worry about it.
Warshall: Do you use any kind of special toilet paper?
Schweickart: No, not that I know of. There may be some flame retardant chemicals put into it just so you don't have any unnecessary flammable materials around, but I'm not sure whether that's the case or not.
Warshall: So it's just like any other toilet paper.
Schweickart: It's basically like any other toilet paper.
Warshall: Is it stuck in the bag and then burned, or . . .?
Schweickart: No, it is in the same bag with the fecal material, and in the early missions that was a plastic bag that you mixed in a disinfectant or actually an anti-gas, oh, what's the word I want, I guess disinfectant would be the best word, which holds down the generation of gas, and you mix that disinfectant liquid all through the fecal material. You mix it in, seal the plastic bag.
Warshall: How do you get it in there?
Schweickart: Well, it's in a small, like a ketchup, a little plastic container like you find ketchup in in restaurants, in a cafeteria or something, it's like that. You tear the slit across the top, being careful not to squeeze it so the stuff comes out, and then you drop that into the fecal container, and then seal the fecal container. Then you squeeze it through the, you know, externally, you know, which forces it out of the container, and then you mix it by massaging the fecal bag. It's really fun when it's still warm.
Warshall: The other thing that I've been asked about is how your diet affects everything; what you're actually eating; how that actually affects, you know, going to the bathroom, and do you do it once a day, since you said it took about an hour when you had . .
Schweickart: Well, it's not at all clear how or whether the food really has any effect different from what you experience down here. The food does, I'm sure, have different preservatives and that kind of thing in it in order to be able to take it up there in the first place and be able to store it for long periods of time and that sort of thing. But I don't think there was any consistent observation, and there's no way to separate the effect of the weightless environment or other changes, physiological changes that are going on from the effect of the food.
Warshall: I mean, the image people have is you're mostly eating out of kind of toothpaste tubes or the food is being squeezed out, or something like that.
Schweickart: That's a pretty long conversation to try and get into, there are all different types, but the toothpaste-type tube has never been used in space. Well, it was used in early Mercury as a kind of test thing, but we have never in fact had toothpaste types of pastes or anything like it. It's always been freeze-dried food which you add water to to reconstitute, or what are called thermal-stabilized foods, almost exactly the same thing you would get in canned peaches or pears, that type of foods which you don't need to add water to, or in the case of Skylab, we also had about l0-15% of frozen foods, including filet mignon, and lobster and roast pork and vanilla ice cream for that matter.
Warshall: And you don't have to worry about that floating out into the space lab?
Schweickart: Well, if I could show you the movies you'd see how we handle it. In some cases, like the filet for example, you cut a piece, and as you're taking it off of the fork the main piece of the filet may be floating up out of the plate, but you stab it with your fork and put it back down in, and if you do it carefully, the surface tension of the gravy will keep it in place. .
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Curator: Al Globus
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