Space is awesome. After all, it’s where we have to go if we’re going to survive the endless swarms of space rocks, mega-plagues, climate horrors, super-volcanoes, and all the other things Mother Earth has to throw at our species.
“I have gifts for all my children.”
“That’s an oxygen crisis for you, a colossal asteroid for you, superheated acidic smog for you…”
But, with that said, our rocking spaceman future does have one little problem: who washes your socks?
So, yeah, laundry’s an issue. You could go the “Heinlein route,” and have a “laundry room” which is basically just cycling an airlock so that the laundry’s exposed to hard vacuum. (you could, and people probably will, go the REAL Heinlein route, and decide “screw this clothes business unless we’re actually having company over,” but sooner or later, clothes of some kind will be in the picture, if only for the convenient pockets). That’d remove any volatiles, sterilize any bacteria, and eventually kill any parasites which accompanied you to space.
Space bedbugs: ewww.
What it WON’T do is remove all of the various oils which gradually build up. Fortunately, you wont’ be able to smell yourself, because a little trick of not-having-gravity means that your sense of smell goes to shit in space. UNFORTUNATELY, oil buildup is still oil buildup, and that will eventually give you serious and ultimately dangerous hygiene issues.
Okay. But when you go to space, you’re going to tech-town. And we have a solution!
Introducing NeverWet. Quite simply, you spray it on something, and so long as the coating last, it ….never gets wet. Ever.
You’ve got to see this stuff to believe it.
Now, mere mortals like you and me basically can’t get our hands on the stuff — they’re not selling to retailers of any stripe whatsoever, apparently — sucks for us, dammit — but that’s not a problem for AWESOME PEOPLE WHO GO TO SPACE.
But actually, there are problems. You can’t just spray this inside and out and call it a day — your body secretes sweat, oils, all kinds of stuff. And if your clothing is 100% superawesomelyhydrophobic, you’re asking for something.
You’re asking for crotch-rot.
Yeah. Your clothes, no matter what form they take, have to breathe, or else you’re going to be building up nasty-tude inside your clothes, which will then gradually turn into either a fungal infection, as certain fungi which are normally kept in check …aren’t… or else simply a really nasty case of SPACE-DIAPER-RASH.
This is not the sexy space future I had in mind.
So what to do, what to do?
Well, there IS, as it turns out, a solution. Use the NeverWet on individual fibers, leaving space between the fibers which can allow at least limited breathability.
Which means that our spaceclothes future looks a lot less like this
and a lot more like this:
But don’t worry. There will inevitably be light and stretchy versions available, and in the mean time, the arguments in favor of the partial pressure suit for space operations are actually pretty darned good.
So space clothes will be funky for a while, but space suits will still be pretty awesome.
Space: You’re doing it right.
Honey, let’s just stick with the Heinlein solution.
I mean, we’re not meeting up with anybody for a week or two, until we’re out past the Golevka Transfer Point anyway, right?