Combinations of astronauts are essential during missions. They don’t only allow them to move, but also protect to them. They can provide them with the necessary oxygen and nutrients when they need to wear them for long hours. Thus, during take-offs or landings, it is not uncommon for astronauts to wear them for 10 hours in a row. These combinations allow them to survive in case of disaster: they must be able to stay there for 6 days. The problem is that in six days, difficult not to go to… the toilet. The solution that exists today is very basic, and far from satisfactory. Astronauts wear diapers, which is not a problem in the short term, but can be much less effective, and especially more dangerous for health, if worn for more than a day.
That’s why NASA is now engaging Internet users around the world, inviting them to think about an integrated system in the combination that could allow astronauts to relieve themselves for at least 144 consecutive hours (6 days), some systems which can extract the “waste” without the use of the hands. To participate, you must go to the dedicated page of the project, and register for the challenge.The proposed system should be able to treat faeces, urine, and / or menstruation in a pressurised survival suit for a period of six days while ensuring the safety and health of the crew.
It also teaches how much waste should be treated: 1L of urine, 75g of feces, and 80mL of menstruation. It is very detailed and might be considered as weird, but the subject is very serious. Several elements are obviously to be taken into account, with microgravity in mind. It is also necessary to take into account the specificities of the combination in question, which was designed specifically for long-term missions. For NASA, the ideal would be a solution that can be tested in the coming year and implemented in 3 years. However, if the chosen idea requires more development time, the organization will adapt.
In total, NASA will select up to 3 projects, which will be rewarded to the tune of $ 30,000. Time to participate tho the first poo collaborative project.