Colgate-Palmolive is blasting back into space.
The personal care multinational has signed an agreement with NASA to explore innovative solutions for oral health, personal care and skin health.
The endgame will be products to be used by astronauts in space, but also the general public.
Future Colgate technologies could help maintain or improve the health and wellbeing of space travellers in low orbit, either before, during, or after long-duration missions, said the company.
Potential topics flagged for exploration include oral care innovations, preventative and therapeutic skin care technologies, low-water products and more sustainable packaging suited to space flight and life in low Earth orbit.
The agreement also enables Colgate to utilise the International Space Station (ISS) as an experimental testing ground, enabling it to discover new insights and accelerate innovation.
Colgate and NASA will further explore sustainable hygiene for NASA crew members by testing sustainability innovations that are suitable for space consumption, such as waterless tablets and compact packaging technologies.
Colgate and NASA’s Space Act Agreement (SAA) will also see former astronaut Dr Cady Coleman work alongside the company as an advisor to help guide research design and offer insights into the realities of space travel and life in microgravity.
“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,” Coleman said.
“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.”
“We’re thrilled about this relationship with NASA,” added 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.”
This is not Colgate’s first foray off-planet; in 2021 it became the world’s first private sector company to send an oral care experiment to the ISS in a bid to learn more about oral biofilms.
And earlier this year, Colgate brand PCA Skin worked with astronauts on the ISS to explore the effects of microgravity on skin-related genes.
Moreover, Colgate is just one of a number of beauty industry players exploring space.
In 2020, Estée Lauder pulled-off an ambitious marketing stunt which saw its Advanced Night Repair serum land on the ISS, garnering it the accolade of the first beauty brand to go into space.
And harnessing the scientific potential of off-Earth conditions is Delavie Sciences.
Its Aeonia Age Defying Serum contains Bacillus Lysate, a biological isolate from the exterior of the ISS which had developed resistance to UV radiation due to prolonged exposure.