December 2, 2016

SCIENCE: Pooping in deep space has NASA stumped. The ‘Space Poop Challenge’ is your way to help.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants to boldly go beyond the adult diaper. The agency is seeking a system to manage fecal, menstrual and urine waste for six days — “a continuous duration of up to 144 hours,” as NASA wrote on its website. The technology, integrated into a spacesuit, would be needed for extended tasks in space as well as “contingency scenarios.” Even during space emergencies, after all, you’ve still gotta go.

How NASA solves this problem in part depends upon you. The agency tapped crowdfunding platform HeroX to source a system that can collect up to 75 grams of fecal matter and 1 liter of urine per day, for six days. It must be hands-free, operate in microgravity and prevent leaking precious oxygen. The reward is up to a $30,000 bounty, plus the knowledge that the fruits of your mind may one day gird an astronaut’s loins.

Space travel appears much more glamorous in the movies.

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