Human Landing System (HLS) Program by NASA has recently launched a contest that seeks ideas for a toilet design that can work on the moon, dubbed “NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge.”
The guidelines issued by the program note that a toilet designed for Artemis lunar lander should be able to support a crew of two astronauts for 14 days with a turnaround time of five minutes or less between uses, be easy to clean and allow for the transfer of the collected waste to storage or for disposal outside the vehicle. The toilet will need to work in both the microgravity of space, “zero-g” and on the moon, where gravity is about a sixth of what we feel on Earth. NASA also notes that it must use less than 70 watts of power, make less noise than an average bathroom fan, and weigh less than 33 pounds on Earth while less than .12 cubic meters in volume.
Additional important details include that the toilet needs to accommodate men and women, conserve water, and “help maintain a pristine environment inside the lander that is free of odors and other contaminants. Bonus points will be awarded to designs that can capture vomit without requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the toilet.”
NASA is offering a $20,000 grand prize, as well as $10,000 and $5,000 prizes for second and third places in its Lunar Loo Challenge that will be announced sometime in October, with the deadline for submissions on HeroX lasting until August 17.