NASA is offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that can be used on the moon. The Agency will send astronauts back to the moon by 2024.
The design guidelines for the toilet require it to work both in the microgravity of space, or "zero-g," and on the moon, where the gravity is about a sixth of what we feel on Earth. The toilet designs must conserve water and "help maintain a pristine environment inside the lander that is free of odors and other contaminants." It should be able to support a crew of two astronauts for 14 days. The toilet should be easy to clean and maintain and should have a turnaround time of five minutes or less between uses. It needs to weigh less than 33 pounds on Earth and be less than .12 cubic meters in volume using less than 70 watts of power. The elegance and design of the entries and their ability to afford some level of privacy in small flight modules will also be considered.
The top prize is $20,000 and the second and third place winners will get $10,000 and $5,000. The deadline for submitting the designs is August 17. Nasa’s programme Artemis will land the first woman and the next man on the moon. At this time, the international space station (ISS) features a large, industrial-looking Russian-made toilet.