NASA's Space Poop Challenge Offers $30,000 To Solve Astronaut's Major IssueBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
NASA has recently launched the "Space Poop Challenge" to solve one major issue that astronauts inevitably encounter in space: bowel movement. The announcement was made last week.
U.S. News reported that the space agency is offering a $30,000 reward for the one who can solve this problem. The Space Poop Challenge was launched on crowdsourcing platform HeroX.
NASA is looking for solutions for urine, fecal and menstrual management systems. The systems will be used in the crew's launch and entry suits for up to 144 hours.
The method must be effective in space where solids, fluids and gases float around in microgravity. It was also noted that these elements don't mix or act the same way in space as it would on Earth.
This was not a problem before when crew members would be in their launch and entry suits for only up to 10 hours. In the meantime, they relieved themselves using diapers.
"Future missions may require long-duration waste management for use by a pressurized suited crew member," the website explains. "In the event of cabin depressurization or other contingency, crew members may need to take refuge in their launch and entry suits for a long-duration."
Those who want to join the contest have until Dec. 20 to submit their suggestions. NASA will announce the winners via HeroX on Jan. 31.
According to SFGate, NASA emphasized that the challenge "does not require you to be working in a field involving microgravity or to fully understand how the body and fluids work in a microgravity environment." They are hoping for creative and practical solutions from the public.
It was previously reported that NASA has joined SpaceX and Boeing on the race to Mars. President Obama has confirmed that NASA will put human on Mars "by the 2030s."
NASA is said to be pitching in $65 million over the next years. This is to enable the companies to create prototype modules on the ground which will be used to gain knowledge on the things that are needed for the real launching.