NASA has launched a unique competition, inviting scientists and engineers around the world to design toilets for its permanent base on the moon. Under its Artemis mission, NASA is planning to set up a base on the moon by 2024, for which it is seeking design innovations for a lunar loo. If you figure out that how the human excreta can go straight down into the toilet in the condition on Moon that offer one-sixth of the gravity of the earth, then here is a chance to win Rs 26.5 lakh.
During Apollo moon missions, the astronauts used adult diapers for the loo and pooped into bags. An official NASA report on the Apollo missions published in 1975 read, "Defecation and urination have been bothersome aspects of space travel from the beginning of manned space flight."
Now around five decades later, under its Lunar Loo Challenge, the US space agency wants to design a real toilet for its astronauts on the lunar surface, that will work in the gravity of the moon. For this innovation, NASA is willing to offer $35,000 that is equivalent to Rs 26.5 lakh approx. The deadline to submit toilet designs is on August 17 at 5 pm.
NASA has also given the guidelines on how moon toilet design should be:
- The toilet should function in both microgravity and lunar gravity.
- It should have a mass of less than 15 Kg in Earth's gravity.
- It should occupy a volume no greater than 0.12 cubic meters.
- It should consume less than 70 Watts of power.
- It should operate at a noise level less than 60 decibels (no louder than an average bathroom fan).
- It should be usable by men and women.
- It should be usable by persons between 58 and 77 inches tall and weighing between 107 and 290 lbs.
Bonus points will also be awarded to designs that can capture vomit without requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the toilet. The major specification is that the toilet should be easy to clean and maintain, as multiple astronauts will be using the toilet over time. While the turnaround time must of 5 minutes or less between uses. Once the astronauts are done, the lunar toilet system should be able to store the waste or somehow toss it outside the vehicle.
Prize money for the winners:
The winner chosen from the entries before the date will receive $20,000 as a reward.
Second and third place winners will be handed out $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.