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Space Poop Challenge: NASA To Award $30,000 To Inventor Of Spacesuit That Can Deal With Human Waste

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 03:20 AM EST
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Despite various space agencies spend a hefty amount of time inventing the technology to take humans to Mars or explore the universe, it seems the simplest issues like dealing with the call of nature still needs to be addressed.

NASA has long been looking for the ultimate solution and came up with the "Space Poop Challenge." The space agency will award $30,000 to someone who could invent a spacesuit that can deal with human waste issues.

NASA wants a system that could collect and route human waste away from the body for up to six days without the use of hands. At present, spacesuits are worn to protect the astronauts for launch, landing and in-space activities. Sometimes, the crew would find themselves in their spacesuits for up to 10 hours a time, making human waste issue a problem.

Time management is critical when they are outside the International Space Station (ISS) for space walks. Once they started the duty, going back inside for a quick toilet break is not an option.

To deal with the problem, astronauts are currently using diapers to take care of their bodily needs while they are launching, spacewalking or landing. However, these diapers are good for just a few hours, making astronauts uncomfortable sitting in poop, menstrual fluid or urine for a long time. Apart from that, it is unhygienic and could pose problems to the health, Space.com reports.

"The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks proposed solutions for fecal, urine, and menstrual management systems to be used in the crew's launch and entry suits over a continuous duration of up to 144 hours," NASA said in a press release.

"An in-suit waste management system would be beneficial for contingency scenarios or for any long duration tasks," it added.

All proposals will be accepted from Oct. 11 to Dec. 20 through the Space Poop site.

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