SPACE – The Final Y Front-ier?

The return of the space shuttle Endeavour on July 31 marked a great leap forward in the history of underpants. Returning to Earth was Astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japanese space agency, JAXA, who had secretly been testing super jocks during his four months on the International Space Station.

According to this daring astronaut, he had been wearing the high-tech undies for 30 days without a let up, and with no complaints from his fellow travellers. But, I’m not sure that this rates as scientifically proven. Perhaps his compatriots were simply too polite to say anything, and were always grateful when the chance came along to take a space walk.

Assuming the designers did come up with a stunning breakthrough, the abilities of the new undergarment are quite impressive. Called J-Wear, it is made of cotton and polyester with a silver coating and is anti-static, flame-resistant, odour-eating, bacteria-killing, and water-absorbent.

Water-absorbent?

I guess everyone attends to their own used underwear as they like.

Actually, it sounds like an innovation that might come in handy when I hit the retirement home in a few years time.

However, the reason for designing this new piece of ‘astrogear’ is quite sensible. Currently, all astronauts used underwear is ejected from space vehicles and burns up during re-entry. Astronauts have to take enough underwear to last for the expected duration of their space trip, and if they are going to the International Space Station, this can be several months’ worth.

If a decision is made to send humans to Mars then the trip is going to take about 214 days (7 months). Assuming there are several crew members, all without the new undergarment tested by Astronaut Koichi , one can visualise a bright shiny capsule arriving above Mars with a trail of soiled laundry flying along in formation above the Red Planet. If they circle the planet for a day or two before landing, the astronauts will be treated to the planet’s first display of flaming skivvies.

And still thinking along those lines, one might wonder how many folk have thought they’ve wished on a falling star, when in reality it was just some astronauts used unmentionables.


Last 5 posts by Peter McCarthy

Last 5 posts by Peter McCarthy