"Space Poop Challenge": NASA Offering $30K for a System to Collect Human Waste in Space
Astronaut Richard Mastracchio discusses the importance of a crowdsourced innovation competition hosted by Herox and NASA. The winner of the challenge, which is open until December 20, 2016, will be awarded $30,000. Current space suits are worn for launch and entry activities and in-space activities to protect the crew from any unforeseen circumstances. A crew member could find himself in this suit for up to ten hours at a time for launch or landing, or up to six days if something catastrophic happens while in space. In space, there are no toilets. The standby solution consists of diapers - however, the diaper is only a very temporary solution. What's needed is a system inside a space suit that collects human waste for up to six days and routes it away from the body, without the use of hands. The system has to operate in the conditions of space - where solids, fluids, and gases float around in microgravity and don't necessarily mix or act the way they would on earth.