A system that extends the lifetime of clothes
Today, the laundry on the International Space Station is thrown out and burnt in the atmosphere, together with the rest of the garbage. By extending the lifetime of clothes and other fabrics, the textile needed on a trip to Mars could be reduced by two-thirds, compared to the ISS.
Ozone cleaner is a system that extends the lifetime of clothes. With the help of ozone, it kills bacteria and removes the odour on clothes. Since crew time is precious, the system operates by itself and allows the astronauts to work with other tasks during the cleaning process.
This project was pretty complex, and a significant part of the research centred around getting familiar with space and a multi-planet future. During the initial research, I became fascinated by the daily life of an astronaut and what's needed during a mission. I analysed the chores and duties we just need to take care of on a daily basis and found cooking and cleaning interesting.
During a two-week visit to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, I noted that NASA hadn't solved how the astronauts would deal with laundry on a trip to Mars. I started to question the need for washing clothes and how clean the clothes must be during a mission.
The heart of the Ozone cleaning system is a device that produces ozone, and circulating it inside a collapsing structure. The structure encapsulates both the device and the objects that need to get clean.
Depending on how "dirty" the items are, the longer they need to be exposed to ozone. The user uses a dial to set a timer, and at the end of cleaning cycle, no ozone is produced, but a fan is still circulating the air to make the ozone turn into oxygen.
By utilising areas in the habitat while they are not in use, clothes could be refreshed in the quarters when the crew is working. Towels could be revived in the gym during the night; science equipment could also be cleaned during the night, and the surgical tools could be sterilised after use.