NASA partners with US company to send astronauts grooming supplies for use and testing

The oral and skin care brand has already undertaken two other experiments on the space station.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The ISS..jpg
The ISS.

dima_zel/iStock 

Colgate-Palmolive Company and NASA have entered into a partnership to explore innovative solutions to advance oral health, personal care and skin health for astronauts and even populations on earth, according to a press release by the self-care company published on Wednesday.

The deal will see former astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman join the team as an advisor for the experiments conducted.

Called the Space Act Agreement (SAA), the new project will see Colgate and NASA collaborate to test Colgate technologies, across oral health, skin health, and personal care product categories, that could help maintain or even improve the health and wellbeing of all space travelers in low orbit, either before, during, or after long-duration missions. The agreement will also see the International Space Station (ISS) used as an experimental testing ground. 

Sustainability beyond earth

The collaboration will also see sustainability explored beyond its applications on our planet and into space as Colgate and NASA will explore sustainable hygiene for NASA crew members in the shape of waterless tablets and compact packaging technologies. 

“I’m excited to work with the Colgate team as they collaborate with NASA to better understand how to maintain a healthy environment for humans living and working in space,” said Coleman. 

“The International Space Station is our testing ground for future missions to the Moon and Mars, and provides an important opportunity to understand how we can optimize crew health and performance in microgravity. And, like so many of the investigations that we conduct in space, this work can also lead to discoveries that will advance health and wellbeing for everyone here on Earth.”

NASA partners with US company to send astronauts grooming supplies for use and testing
Colgate-Palmolive and NASA will work together on the ISS.

Coleman was previously a polymer chemist in the Air Force and worked with NASA for 24 years. She undertook three space missions where she conducted more than 100 different experiments. 

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Oral care innovations and connected health technologies, preventative and therapeutic skin care technologies, low-water products, and more sustainable packaging suited to space flight and life in low Earth orbit will all be examined by Coleman and her team. 

“We’re thrilled about this relationship with NASA,” said Stephan Habif, Colgate’s Chief Technology Officer.

“I’m excited to see how the understanding of the peculiar conditions of space travel can yield impactful insights and solutions for all people to have a healthier future – whether they’re traveling to space or going about their day right here on Earth.”

Other off-planet initiatives

This isn’t Colgate’s first off-planet endeavor. The company has already undertaken two separate investigations in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS. 

In 2021, it studied how plaque grows in microgravity on board the ISS with the ultimate goal of developing more effective oral care solutions on Earth. Then, earlier this year, its skincare brand launched the first private sector skin health investigation on the ISS to better understand the effects of microgravity on skin-related genes and overall skin health. 

Data collected from both these experiments are now being analyzed by the company’s researchers to produce better improved products both on earth and in space.