NASA announces $30000 reward for human waste management solution in Space

Help Astronauts Poop in Space

For lunch and dinner, the crew could eat meals similar to those served on the International Space Station (ISS).

At present, space crews wear a diaper which is not suitable for flights lasting more than a day.

According to The West Australian, the system should be hands-free and should handle everything up to six days.

The food bars have been taste tested by humans inside HERA, a three-story habitat at Johnson Space Center where NASA is exploring the impact long term isolation, such as a trip to Mars, would have on humans. Astronaut Rick Mastracchio asks you to "imagine a scenario where a crew is on their way to the moon, and there is an emergency where the vehicle begins losing cabin pressure". Researchers also worry what would happen if a female astronaut gets her period in a spaceship.

For this reason, NASA's next-generation of suits have been created to provide "clean air, water, shelter, and enough nutrients for up to six days", or 144 hours, as astronaut Richard Mastracchio explains in this video.

Have you ever wondered what fully suited astronauts should do when they need to use toilet in space?

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"However, the diaper is only a very temporary solution, and doesn't provide a healthy/protective option longer than one day". The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2016.

However, this is not sufficient as astronauts that are going on Journey to Mars for six months will need to spend more time within their suit.

The old standby solution consisted of diapers, in case astronauts needed to relieve themselves.

"While sealed, it is impossible for an astronaut to access their own body, even to scratch their nose", says NASA.

That's where you inventors come in.

On future missions to deep space destinations like an asteroid or Mars, NASA suspects it could take up to 144 hours, or six days, to get to a proper toilet.

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The waste management system must address all forms of refuse including fecal, urine and menstrual, and protect the safety and health of the crew members.

When you consider food eaten by astronauts in space from a utility point of view, you don't have to think of only nutrition, shelf-life, taste and variety; you also need to account for another factor - the space it occupies.

However, that first part about the food bars was easier said than done.

On the space station, crew members often pull their desired breakfast from a range of options available, and may eat items from multiple thermostabilized or rehydratable packages. The missions will ultimately help NASA determine the right meal replacement schedule to prevent food fatigue and aversion on long-duration missions. But the crews of Orion will still need all their nutrition to keep them healthy and alert.

Food scientists at NASA are working on developing high-calorie food bars to meet these needs.

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