NASA‘s Human Landing System (HLS) Program recently launched a contest to help it design a toilet that can be used on the moon. Ahead of the space agency’s goal of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2024, it has launched “NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge”
Posted on HeroX, the guidelines challenge anyone to solve the problem of adapting a toilet for the Artemis lunar lander. The toilet will need to work in both the microgravity of space, “zero-g” and on the moon, where gravity is about a sixth of what we feel on Earth.
The guidelines note that a toilet should be able to support a crew of two astronauts for 14 days with a turnaround time of five minutes or less between uses, be easy to clean and allow for the transfer of the collected waste to storage or for disposal outside the vehicle. NASA also notes that it must use less than 70 watts of power, make less noise than an average bathroom fan and weigh less than 33 pounds on Earth while less than .12 cubic meters in volume.
Additional important details include that the toilet needs to accommodate men and women, conserve water and “help maintain a pristine environment inside the lander that is free of odors and other contaminants.” Additionally, “bonus points will be awarded to designs that can capture vomit without requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the toilet.”
The deadline for submissions on HeroX will be August 17 and winners will be announced sometime in October. NASA is also offering a grand prize of $20,000 USD, with $10,000 and $5,000 USD prizes for second and third place in its Lunar Loo Challenge.
In case you missed it, NASA recently gave a new name to its first planetary defense mission target.