The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now turning into crowdsourcing to solve the “dirty” problem being faced by astronauts stationed in space.
Dubbed as the “Space Poop” challenge, NASA is willing to pay a handsome amount of cash to anyone who can propose a hands-free way of relieving one’s self.
“The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks proposed solutions for fecal, urine, and menstrual management systems to be used in the crew’s launch and entry suits over a continuous duration of up to 144 hours,” NASA wrote on a press release. “An in-suit waste management system would be beneficial for contingency scenarios or for any long duration tasks.”
Previously, astronauts are using diapers as an old standby solution to answer any call of nature. However, NASA noted that diapers can only be a temporary solution and not even very healthy and sanitary.
In order to win the Space Poop Challenge, a contender must first enter through the crowd-sourcing website HeroX. The lucky innovators who propose the greatest high-tech and cutting-edge diaper would receive $30,000.
The winning idea must be a system inside a space suit that collects human waste for up to 144 hours and routes it away from the body, without the use of hands. The innovation must also work under the condition in space, where everything, including solid, liquid and gas waste floats around at microgravity.
The new poop system should hold up to 1 liter of urine per crew member daily, 75 grams of fecal mass per crew member daily, and 80 milliliters of menstrual waste. The most important thing is that the system should lasts for six days, keeping the astronauts clean and healthy for a total of 144 hours.
The submission of brilliant poop-tackling ideas is open until December 20, 2016. The results will be announced on January 31, 2017. The best space poop innovation will be implemented and used by NASA for the next three to four years.