The US space agency NASA will offer prize money of USD 35,000 to those who can come up with a design for space toilet.
“Artemis astronauts exploring the Moon will use the most advanced space systems of the 21st century – including some of the most basic home comforts, like a toilet. NASA is calling on the global community to help innovate space toilet concepts through the Lunar Loo Challenge,” NASA wrote in its website.
NASA said that the astronauts exploring on the Moon will need a smaller, lighter, simpler toilet inside their lunar lander, because every ounce of mass on the lander is carefully allocated.
“For every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of mass, 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of propellant is needed to descend to the lunar surface and launch back to lunar orbit,” it added.
The Lunar Loo Challenge seeks novel design concepts for low-mass, compact toilets that can reduce the current state-of-the art toilet mass by more than half – from 54 kg to 31 kg – and reduce the volume by 70% – from 0.17 cubic meters to 0.12 cubic meters, NASA said.
The space agency further said that the lunar toilet design concepts must allow astronauts to urinate and defecate in both lunar gravity and microgravity.
“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. Entrants 12 years old or younger will need to have a parent or guardian register to submit on their behalf,” NASA added.
The Lunar Loo Challenge has a total prize purse of $35,000 that will be shared among the top three designs. The top three participants in the junior category will each receive public recognition and an item of official NASA merchandise.
NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge opened on June 25, 2020 while the close date is August 17, 2020.