NASA looks to the public to help design next space toilet

Pablo Tucker
June 27, 2020

Among all the preparations for this mission is the issue of using the toilet in space. Selected designs may be modified for integration into Artemis lunar landers.

During the eight-week challenge, problem solvers can win up to $35,000 in prizes. "As we prepare for this extraordinary event, we can't forget about the ordinary needs of our astronauts", said Interbartolo.

NASA previously joined forces with commercial partners Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX to create the Human Landing System Program, which is the final transport mode for astronauts landing on the lunar surface. "It's always an honor helping solve "number two" challenges".

But a mission to the moon would need a exclusive style and design for the shuttle's bogs to operate in lunar gravity, which is somewhere around 1-sixth of Earth's gravity.

The agency is already working on its own approaches to miniaturize and streamline existing toilets, but is interested in receiving external designs because it believes that They will bring innovative ideas with a different mindset than traditional aerospace engineering. Of course, some space toilets already exist like that of the one in the International Space Station, but NASA wants this next one to be "smaller, more efficient and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity" while having all the same capabilities of our toilets here on planet Earth. "This challenge hopes to attract radically new and different approaches to the problem of human waste capture and containment", it wrote in its callout. "This challenge includes a Technical category and Junior category".

The top three winning designs will earn some cash.

NASA may also adapt the toilet design for its Artemis lunar lander. Children under the age of 18 are also encouraged to apply in a "junior" category where the prizes are public recognition and Nasa-themed merchandise.

Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation.

To enter the competition, you must submit your application through the HeroX Innovation Network, which is administering the contest on behalf of NASA, before August 17.

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