NASA astronaut Mark Polansky (L) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata work in the hatch between the Space Shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station as they prepare for the undocking of the two spacecraft in this NASA handout photo taken July 28, 2009. [Agencies]
In what might embarrass less adventurous souls, astronaut Koichi Wakata is returning to Earth with the underwear he kept on for a solid month during his space station stay and scientists will check them out.
They're experimental high-tech undies, designed in Japan to be odor free.
The Japanese spaceman described his underwear test Thursday as shuttle Endeavour and its crew aimed for a touchdown the next morning. The astronauts released some mini satellites, their final job before Friday's re-entry, and said it was time to come home after more than two weeks aloft.
Wakata has been off the planet for 4 1/2 months.
"I haven't talked about this underwear to my crew members," Wakata said in an interview with The Associated Press, drawing a big laugh from his six shuttle colleagues. "But I wore them for about a month, and my station crew members never complained for about a month, so I think the experiment went fine."
The underwear, called J-Wear, is a new type of anti-bacterial, water-absorbent, odor-eliminating clothing designed for space missions. The line includes shirts, pants and socks as well. Wakata tested all of them during his mission; he had four pairs of the silver-coated underwear, a cross between briefs and boxers.
"We'll see the results after landing," Wakata said.
J-Wear is billed as being antistatic and flame retardant, which is especially important for spaceship wear. The cotton and polyester clothes are also seamless, making them lighter and more comfortable, according to the Japanese Space Agency. The goal is "comfortable everyday clothes for life in a spaceship."
Another Japanese astronaut wore some J-Wear items during a shuttle flight last year, but had only 16 days in orbit to try them out.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）