From everything we see and hear, even in real life, space travel isn’t an easy thing.
There are the usual difficulties like breathing in outer space, for which people bring oxygen. Eating in outer space, for which they bring food. And drinking, for which they bring beer, wine, whisky and even water.
What strikes me quite a lot, lately, is that some things are commonly overlooked. Simple things like laundry for instance. Laundry also requires water. Lots of it, as we know. Now, you can say that laundry water can be recycled, which is true. Grey water can be reused a few times, and apparently the results are quite good. However, it means you have to store that water somewhere.
Imagine the star ship Enterprise. According to the star trek database, there were 430 people aboard the first Enterprise. That is a lot of people.
Suppose they change clothes 3 times a week (conservative) except the red-shirts who get slapped around a lot more. imagine the amount of laundry that has to be processed.
A company called Xeros invented a way to wash clothes with (almost) no water, but that still has its drawbacks. (Link to CNBC article.) They came up with a system of small, polymer beads that you put in the laundry and, according to the gentleman interviewed, these beads clean clothes better than just water. The process still requires water, though. Water that has to be brought along. And, in the interview, the spokesman says that you need a LOT of beads for the process to work. Even more space for storage wasted.
The smart way to go about this would be to go naked. Naked means no need for laundry, at least a lot less.
Of course, knowing the crew of the Enterprise, they would run into civilisations that wear clothes, so the people on away missions would wear clothes as well, but that would be 10 to perhaps 25 people at most. Which leaves more than 400 people clothes-free – and laundry-free.
Take in water
But you can take in fresh water on friendly planets, I hear you say. Sure, no problem. Donate your dirty water, get fresh water and off you go. But what if you hit a strange quadrant, like Star Trek Voyager? Where there are no friendly civilisations, or no civilisations at all, just unfriendly planets like Saturn, Neptune and Venus?
Water might become a problem rapidly.
Maybe you have better ideas. I’ll stick to nude space travel for now.