NASA Offers Reward to Solve Problem of Human Excrement in Space

in Science & Tech by

NASA Space Poop Challenge
Space travel is not always so glamorous. One of the main problems facing astronauts part of their space travel is no access to toilets, and what they do have is not very comfortable and waste accumulates in a short time.

NASA has launched a call for the general public to find a genius who can resolve the problem of what to do with human excrement in space.

As explained by astronaut Rick Mastracchio in the promotional video “Poop challenge” (embedded below), this issue can be amusing but is also very important for the health of space travelers and the evolution of space exploration.

Currently astronauts wear diapers when they spacewalk, during takeoff, and other times when they don’t have access to sanitary facilities. But diapers are only a short term solution and can cause health problems.

In addition, for longer trips, such as going to Mars, it’s a problem that needs to be solved.

NASA is offering a prize of $30,000 USD to whoever can find a solution for their “poop challenge”.

What kind of solution you seek?

According to the challenge website, the solution should consist of a system within a spacesuit that can collect human waste for up to 144 hours that also keeps it away from the body and doing require using their hands.

The method has to function under space conditions where liquids, solids and gases float in microgravity and do not act as they do on Earth. It should also contribue to the ability of astronauts to stay alove and healthy for up to 6 days.

The challenge will be open until December.

Astronaut Richard Mastracchio on Space Poop Challenge from HeroX on Vimeo.