Friday, 03 July, 2020


NASA opens up Lunar Loo challenge for human waste management in space

NASA is offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that will work on the moon NASA seeks crowdsourced help designing a better Moon toilet
Kristine Garrett | 27 June, 2020, 23:54

Lunar toilet design concepts should allow astronauts to urinate and defecate in both microgravity - also known as "zero-g" - and lunar gravity.

"NASA's Human Landing System Program is looking for a next-generation device that is smaller, more efficient, and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity", the NASA website says.

NASA needs your help building a toilet for space.

The space agency has set an ambitious goal of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and the crew will naturally have to go to the rest room during the mission.

It should occupy no more than 0.12 cubic metres and operate with a noise level of less than 60 decibels - roughly equal to a bathroom ventilation fan on Earth.

"Bonus points will be awarded to patterns that can seize vomit without the need of requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the rest room", the suggestions reported.

NASA's new Artemis Accords govern how we cooperatively and safely explore the moon and Mars

The toilet must be easy to clean and maintain and must have a recovery time of five minutes or less between uses. Winners of the main Technical category will be announced on September 30, while Junior winners will be released on October 20.

How would a space toilet like?

The astronauts also left bags of waste on the Moon's surface, which Nasa has said it one day hopes to study for signs of life.

It is a manned mission that will take four astronauts to our natural satellite, who will stay to live in a base camp for a time in order to fully explore the lunar surface.

To give you an example, if you weighed their average body weight and that beast of a suit, all of the Apollo astronauts completely suited up would weigh about 500 pounds on Earth.

The ISS will act as a test bed for the new design, which could be used for long space missions, such as to the Moon and Mars in the next decade. The astronauts will be living in the pressurized crew cabin part of the lander for at least a week (on early missions). What it does have to accommodate is an environment with a sixth of Earth's gravity. Lunar surface gravity isn't the almost total absence of gravity you find on the ISS, but it is only a fraction of what holds us down on the home planet because the Moon has so much less mass.

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