Space crap: Flap, zap or strap? $30k from NASA for your pooper scooper

Dung it! You need the loose change, etc

Weeping astronaut illustration via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

Time is ticking away if you want to enter NASA's competition for the public to suggest an astronaut ablution solution.

While the PR team must be delighted with their title of "Space Poop Challenge" the more officious procurement language of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is even sweeter:

NASA seeks proposed solutions for fecal, urine, and menstrual management systems to be used in the crew's launch and entry suits over a continuous duration of up to 144 hours. An in-suit waste management system would be beneficial for contingency scenarios or for any long duration tasks.

While nappies have provided the room for space-farers to drop the kids off at the pool while suited up, diapers also require quick-changing lest the 'nauts nethers get afflicted with nappy rash, or irritant diaper dermatitis as it's called around our manor.

Budding inventors have until 20 December to squeeze out a design for a personalised system that will handle wastage for about six days, up to 1L per day for the urine alone, all without upsetting the space botties.

Your solution will also need to be quick to integrate with the space suit as a whole, taking no more than five minutes to attach, considering the "less than 60 seconds" that crew members are stated to have to "get into and seal their spacesuit" in incidents of sudden "cabin depressurization" though we don't imagine convenience would be much barrier to evacuation in such circumstances.

You may enter the challenge here. ®

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