Published: Sat, February 18, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Whether It's To The Moon Or Mars, NASA Wants Astronauts Flying Soon

Whether It's To The Moon Or Mars, NASA Wants Astronauts Flying Soon

"NASA has taken steps to address the problem of astronauts" bathroom use and recently announced the victor of the Space Poop Challenge, a competition organized by its NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), hosted by the HeroX crowdsourcing initiative. For More details please visit Christian Science Monitor.

"The opportunity to contribute to future NASA missions by helping to protect astronaut health and safety, combined with the curiosity that surrounds performing the most basic of human bodily functions in microgravity, seemed like a flawless HeroX crowdsourcing opportunity", Cotichini stated further. Traditionally, the agency has been heavily involved in the testing, launching and operation of new spacecraft, but in this case, the work is much more in the contractors' hands. "Future missions may require long-duration waste management for use by a pressurized suited crew member", wrote NASA in the contest description. That's years before the current schedule for a deep space manned mission. This is suitable for short missions lasting no more than one day, however deep space missions are another matter altogether. The Exploration Mission-1 flight will be the first to utilize both technologies. We'll see what the feasibility study reveals and then the actual work needed to turn those study results into reality. There were 5,000 proposed solutions from 19,000 individual registered competitors with every continent around the world participating (including Antarctica). His design-titled "SWIMSuit- Zero Gravity Underwear"-is a bit like a cross between underwear and a wetsuit that keeps its wearer dry".

Cardon's system featured a small airlock system at the suit's crotch, with small, inflatable items like diapers and bedpans passing through.

"[Doctors] can do some unbelievable things in very small openings", Cardon told NPR.

"I never thought that keeping the waste in the suit would be any good", the victor Cardon, told NPR.

Second place and $10,000 went to a team calling themselves the Space Poop Unification of Doctors.

Coming in third was Hugo Shelly, the founder of a London design and prototyping company.

"The ability to protect the crew while in a pressurized suit for such an emergency situation is one that has never before been tested in space and is critical for crew health", says Johnson. Like SPUDS' design, Shelley's also stores the waste in the suit, using a mechanism to compress, seal and sanitise solid waste.

That's why thousands of people spent tens of thousands of hours on the "Space Poop Challenge", brainstorming, modeling, prototyping and number-crunching to come up with a crowd-sourced solution to the problem of human waste in a spacesuit. Moving forward though, the program office could face hard choices about how to maintain the level of visibility it feels it needs without adding to the program's schedule pressures.

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