The International Space Station, although it covers an area the size of a football field, is still a place that hosts many people and is known for having a “peculiar smell”, even defined as “similar to what one can breathe in prison“.
The problem is to be found in the toilets and in the garbage which can be found in the orbiting laboratory, but not only. Former astronaut Catherine Coleman recently said in an interview that some of her fellow astronauts had a particular proclivity for put on their dirty workout clothes again (because yes, even in orbit there is a gym).
“We shouldn’t have used it [gli stessi vestiti] for more than a week or two,” Coleman tells FastCompany magazine. ”But despite having plenty of workout clothes on board, some crew members were happy to keep stock and determined to break the ‘record’ for longest use of workout clothes.“
And that’s not all: some crew members they used to throw away their rags while they were still damp, messing with the ship’s water levels. “We recycle all water and collect moisture from the air”, continues the astronaut. ”When they started stuffing their wet clothes into the garbage ship’s bags, the entire water balance of the station changed.“
On the face of it, it’s no wonder the ISS is full of bacteria and fungi.