NASA Rewards $30,000 For Inventors Who Can Solve Poop Problem In Space
NASA is trying to come up with a solution to solve the usual problem astronauts' encounter. It has been a problem for astronauts in space missions on how to deal with defecating while in a space suit for a week. To address this, NASA came up with the idea of soliciting ideas from others.
The American Space Agency launched a contest for participants to create a hands-free system that courses and gathers waste away from the body for up to six days. Winners will be awarded $30,000. The deadline for the submission of ideas is on December 20.
Rick Mastracchio, a veteran of Space Shuttle Soyuz and Space Shuttle mission was quoted by CNN saying that space flight is not always glamorous. He added that astronauts also need to go to the bathroom even in a spacecraft. Mastracchio said this in a video promoting NASA's call to action.
Astronauts can be in their suits for more than 10 hours during a spaceflight. Future expeditions need the improvement of new technology to keep the team well and alive. With NASA planning to send humans deeper into space, every aspect of human need on space must be addressed.
At present, space crews wear a diaper which is not suitable for flights lasting more than a day. Although nobody would want to wear a diaper for a week, the issue about this for space missions is a matter of life and death. According to HeroX, a diaper is a temporary solution and does not provide a healthy choice if wore longer than a day. HeroX is NASA's website where the contest is posted.
Mastracchio said that it is important that the waste needs to be treated otherwise it could hard the astronaut. He added that infection and even sepsis can set in. NASA aims to test the winning ideas next year and apply successful systems to the next missions.