The $30,000 Space Poop Challenge
Looking to earn some extra money? NASA has kind of a crappy problem and needs your help in the Space Poop Challenge.
In space, solids, fluids, and gases float around in microgravity, and when an crew member is in a space suit for up to ten hours, and up to six days in an emergency, NASA needs a way to collect human waste for up to 144 hours and route it away from the body, without the use of hands.
Here’s the problem, “In space, no one can hear you flush. This is because in space, there are no toilets. While you may go about your life mostly unaffected by this, it is more of a challenge for our brave astronauts in their space suits. After all: when you gotta go, you gotta go. And sometimes you gotta go in a total vacuum.”
The old standby solution consisted of diapers, in case astronauts needed to relieve themselves. However, the diaper is only a very temporary solution, and doesn’t provide a healthy/protective option longer than one day.
Think you can help NASA create a space suit that can hold up to six days of feces, urine and menstrual fluid without relying on gravity, and then keep all that waste away from the body? You have until December 20th to submit your idea. Up to three entries will be chosen, with up to $30,000 in total prize money awarded.