NASA launches challenge to come up with better space toilet

Even astronauts have to 'go'

If you've ever wanted to be a part of the next trip to the Moon, NASA wants to hear from you.

Especially if you know anything about going to the washroom in zero gravity.

NASA is preparing to return to the Moon with the Artemis program landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. The plan is to use innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before.

Artemis astronauts will be using the most advanced space systems of the 21st century – but they need your help to come up with a new toilet.

NASA has launched the Lunar Loo Challenge, looking for novel design concepts for compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity. If your design is chosen you could win $35,000 U.S., in total prize value, including public recognition from NASA and from HeroX.

Just like everyone else, astronauts need to eat, drink, and go to the washroom.

“Our astronauts accomplish amazing feats of science and space exploration. But at the end of the day, they’re still human. We need to provide them with the same necessities as here on Earth so they can continue to do their job,” said Mike Interbartolo, manager for the Lunar Loo Challenge.

There are two divisions, the Technical Prize and the Junior Prize.

The Technical Prize is open to anyone age 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. The Junior Challenge is open to anyone under the age of 18, participating as an individual or as a team.

Getting back to the Moon by 2024 is an ambitious goal and NASA is already working on approaches to improve existing space toilets.

“The global community of innovators provides valuable insight and expertise we might not have in-house,” said Steve Rader, deputy manager of the NASA Tournament Lab. “Challenges like this allow us to tap into that creative thinking and find unknown or undeveloped solutions.”

Submissions will be evaluated based on proposed capabilities, technical maturity, safety, and overall innovation.

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