In space, completing simple actions like clipping your nails, washing your hair, and crying can be a challenge. Pooping presents an especially pesky hurdle for astronauts to overcome. When they aren’t doing their business on suction-based toilets that shoot waste into space, astronauts are forced to relieve themselves in the adult diapers they wear in their suits. NASA believes there’s a better way, and they’re asking for your help to find it.
As Fast Company reports, NASA’s Space Poop Challenge is calling on citizens to submit their ideas for collecting human waste inside space suits and routing away it away from the body hands-free. The crew aboard a spacecraft can be stuck inside their space suits for up to 10 hours at a time during launch and landing, and up to six days in the case of a disaster. To prepare for such emergencies, NASA asks that the system be capable of collecting urine, feces, and menstrual fluid for 144 hours straight.
In addition to devising a mechanism that’s safe and sanitary, inventors will also need to account for the conditions in space. As you can imagine, microgravity, unwanted waste, and a cramped suit don’t mix well together. Anyone who’s up for the challenge has until December 20 to send in their proposals. The winner will be rewarded for their dirty work with a $30,000 prize.
[h/t Fast Company]