We can put a man on the moon but we can’t deny our bodily functions, no matter who you are. So the world’s leading space agency has put up a $US30,000 ($40,300) award for anyone who can come up with the most innovative “space poop” solution.
Sure it’s a little less glamorous than NASA’s regular work, but what’s more important than keeping astronauts regular?
The problem is, when on board a spacecraft, zipped up in a spacesuit, with no toilet in sight and a crew of other astronauts around it can be a little difficult to relieve yourself.
“This is an important problem to solve for future mission,” says NASA astronaut Richard Mastrachhio in a video explaining the importance of the poop challenge.
NASA has not sent astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit since the Apollo missions but now that we plan to venture into lunar orbit and far beyond, astronauts need the ability to live inside their protective space suit for a number of days at a time — raising the serious question of waste management.