NASA Has A Space Poop Problem And Will Give You $30,000 If You Solve It

There are infinite challenges inherent in space travel, which has enabled it to remain one of mankind’s biggest endeavors.

When considering the challenges of space travel, one would first have to surmount the technology angle that encapsulates the building of vehicles and other gear, wearable and otherwise, needed to get the astronauts into space.

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Covering those, the big question of how to keep astronauts healthy, which includes considerations of nutrition, clean oxygen and a host of other factors, comes into play.

Another less glamorous problem of space travel presented itself and was made known to the public in October when NASA launched the “Space Poop Challenge” on the crowdsourcing platform HeroX. Basically, the space poop challenge is trying to answer the very important question of how to get rid of astronaut poop on long missions in spacesuits.

space travel

NASA scientists have been unable to come up with a solution so they are taking suggestions from the public. Anyone is allowed to submit a proposal through Dec. 20, and the winner will get $30,000.

If astronauts go on space programs to explore Mars and run into any troubles, they would have to rely on their spacesuits for up to six days to keep them alive while they try to make it home. That’s six days when they would obviously need to go to the bathroom.

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So NASA is looking for suggestions on building a device that will fit compactly in spacesuits while safely collecting and storing a liter of urine, 75 milliliters of fecal matter, and just over 13 milliliters of menstrual blood per day for six days. Currently, the astronauts make use of diapers for urine when they’ll be in their spacesuits for eight to 12 hours.

space travel

Normal diapers would, however, cause irritation if they stay on for too long.

Even the spaceship toilets are not so easy to use. The toilets utilize suction power to carry away liquid and solid waste. So if you have any suggestions for NASA on how to get rid of their Space Poop, you can accept the challenge here.