NASA is doing everything it can to keep its hands clean—of poop. NASA has launched “The Space Poop” challenge for participants to invent a hands-free system that routes and collects waste away from the astronaut’s body for up to six days.
How do you deal with human waste when you’re trapped in a space suit for up to a week? That’s what they’re asking you. Inventors have until December 20, 2016, to submit their best “space poop” ideas for the chance to win $30,000.
During spaceflight astronauts can be in their suits for more than 10 hours at a time. And, with NASA’s plans to send humans deeper into space, future missions will require the advancement of new technology to keep the astronauts alive and well. And, shall we say, clean.
Currently crews wear an absorbent diaper, but these will not be suitable for flights longer than a day. While it goes without saying that nobody would want to wear a diaper for a week, the issue is more than a matter of cleanliness, it’s a matter of life or death.
It is vital that the waste needs to be treated otherwise it could harm or even kill the astronaut, especially if infection sets in.
NASA said it aims to test the winning ideas in the next year and roll out successful systems in the next three.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense