We can put a man on the moon, but the greatest minds at NASA still can’t figure out what to do with astronaut poop.
Yahoo! reports the U.S. space agency has launched a contest to award $30,000 to take in ideas for how to handle “space poop” in the event of a problem on a potential future mission. The problem: How to deal with potential feces and urine in a space suit, to the point at which astronauts could spend up to six days in a space suit without, you know, sitting in their own waste for the better part of a week. The goal would be to design a space suit that can serve as its own little life raft for a few days, in case an astronaut has to abandon ship and wait for rescue.
Currently, there aren’t any good answers. NASA has been using diapers ever since we started putting people in space, and any toddler can tell you that’s not an ideal situation. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that poo and pee can … float up in zero gravity, and that’s not good. At all.
Armchair scientist have until Dec. 20 to submit ideas, and hopefully there’s a brilliant breakthrough out there just waiting to save future astronauts from the perils of space poop.