Back to the moon with a Lunar loo
In 2024, NASA is sending astronauts back to the moon with only the best technology but also the best toilet.
So, the space agency is inviting members of the public to submit their designs for a Lunar Loo, with a cash prize up for grabs.
NASA is looking for submissions for designs for a toilet that will be used by Artemis astronauts on the next moon exploration mission in 2024 which this time will include a female astronaut, so the toilet will need to be able to accommodate men and women as well as being able to support the crew for 14 days.
The competition instructions state, “The Lunar Loo Challenge seeks novel design concepts for low-mass, compact toilets that can reduce the current state-of-the-art toilet mass by more than half, from 54 kg to 31 kg, and reduce the volume by 70% from 0.17 cubic meters to 0.12 cubic meters”.
“For comparison, the standard toilet you might have in your house weighs 30-60 kg, but the complexity of operating in reduced gravity environments requires more components for a space toilet”.
Lunar Loo toilet designs must allow for astronauts to use it in both lunar gravity and microgravity. Gravity on the moon is approximately one-sixth of the Earth’s gravity.
The winners of the Lunar Loo design will be rewarded $20,000 as the top prize whereas the second and the third-place winners will get $10,000 and $5,000. NASA hopes that the prize will attract “radically new and different approaches to the problem of human waste capture and containment”.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to design NASA’s next toilet, then you’ll need to head over to the NASA website here.
To enter the adult Lunar Loo competition, you’ll need to be over 18 years old. However, there is a separate category for those looking to enter the challenge who are under 18 years old, the junior category.
The prize for the junior category is described as “official NASA swag and bragging rights”.
You can enter the junior category on the NASA website here.
The opening date to submit designs was 25 June, but don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to submit your entry.
The closing date for the competition is on 17 August 2020. The adult winners for the competition will be announced on 30 September, and junior winners will be announced on 20 October.