The next big leap will be sending a man to the Mars. The trip will be long and arduous one, and a lot of things must be thought about for the long trip including the question of designing a perfect toilet. NASA is offering a bounty of $30,000 to anyone who develops a system that collects and transports human waste from the body for up to six days without using hands.
The current space suits which are to be worn by astronauts do not have any such feature and donning the space suit could take up to 10 to 12 hours. So astronauts have diapers to take care of any eventuality. However, neither are diapers comfortable nor hygienic or safe beyond a period of time.
Hence NASA is looking for a system which will collect the waste inside the suit for up to 144 hours and routes it away without having to use a hand. The system must work in the conditions of space i.e. weightlessness and microgravity where things just float around and fluids which will not mix freely like on Earth.
The waste management system must address all forms of refuse including fecal, urine and menstrual, and protect the safety and health of the crew members. The system must be capable of addressing up to one liter of urine, 75 grams of fecal mass, and 75 milliliters of volume and menstrual collection up to 80 milliliters over six days.
NASA will award $30,000 to solutions which will be used for future missions in the coming three or four years. Anyone above the age of 18, private teams, public groups, college teams from any country can participate in this contest. Designs must be submitted before December 20th, 2016.