As NASA prepares for another trip to the moon, they have many considerations to take into account. One of these problems is how their astronauts will go to the loo.
They have announced the “Lunar Loo Challenge”, in which they have asked the public to design the best moon toilet. For the designer whose toilet gets chosen, $35 000 (R604 551.50) is the prize.
“As NASA prepares for our return to the Moon, innumerable activities to equip, shelter, and otherwise support future astronauts are underway. These astronauts will be eating and drinking, and subsequently urinating and defecating in microgravity and lunar gravity. While astronauts are in the cabin and out of their spacesuits, they will need a toilet that has all the same capabilities as ones here on Earth,” NASA said.
“NASA is calling on the global community for their novel design concepts for compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity. These designs may be adapted for use in the Artemis lunar landers that take us back to the Moon,” they explained.
Artemis is NASA’s program to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. This goal is already an ambitious one. Therefore NASA is hoping to miniturise and streamline devices, including toilets.
According to NASA’s partner in this challenge, Hero X, they are welcoming ideas from the global community “knowing that they will approach the problem with a mindset different from traditional aerospace engineering”.
“This challenge hopes to attract radically new and different approaches to the problem of human waste capture and containment,” said Hero X.
Toilets that can be used in space already exist and are in use, however they are designed for microgravity only. NASA’s Human Landing System Program is in search for a more efficient, smaller device, that can be used in microgravity and lunar gravity.
Just launched: the Lunar Loo Challenges! Be a part of history by designing the toilet astronauts will use during future missions on the moon & Mars. Learn how NASA is #crowdsourcing human waste disposal concepts & how you or your kids can get involved: https://t.co/o15GxUMVM9 pic.twitter.com/wI7Gae2PwY
— HeroX (@Iamherox) June 25, 2020
The challenge includes a technical category and a junior category.
Award: Technical – $35,000 in total prizes; Junior – public recognition from NASA and from HeroX, a winner’s certificate, and an item of official NASA-logoed merchandise
Open Date: June 25, 2020
Close Date: August 17, 2020
Image: Twitter / HeroX