The astronauts can already urinate and defecate when they float in space, but Nasa seeks concepts for smaller, more efficient and adapted to the low gravity lunar for its future missions to the Moon. It has launched on Thursday a call for projects with 35,000 in scholarships.
“This challenge hopes to generate radically new approaches and different to the problem of the collection and storage of human waste,” writes the u.s. space agency in the prose technique in which it is customary.
The astronauts of Apollo were in a bag (at least five stayed on the Moon, according to official records), and the toilet of the international space Station are now functioning with pipes systems and vacuum, weightlessness requires.
Nasa will award three prizes (20 000, 10 000 and 5 000 dollars) to the inventors of the most creative for a system to be installed in the alunisseur that will take two astronauts on the Moon by 2024, according to the official calendar (the three companies are in competition to build the alunisseur).
The specification is specified: the toilet will, of course, serve men and women, operate at the same time on the Moon (where gravity is one-sixth of the earth’s gravity) and microgravity (in space), occupy less than 0.12 cubic meter, and don’t make any more noise than a ventilation of bathroom (60 decibels).
Most importantly, they will have to allow defecation and urination simultaneously, and be able to receive a liter of urine and 500 grams of feces (including diarrhea) per occurrence, and 114 grams per day of rules. They will need to be cleaned up in five minutes, and to contain the odor and the drops in the interior, and necessarily narrow, of the vehicle.
The waste will need to be able to be stored or disposed at the outside (for Apollo, the urine was discharged into the space, “where it froze immediately in a rain of crystals iced and sparkling,” according to author Craig Nelson).
Another detail for those who are interested (deadline is August 17): “bonus points will be awarded to designs that are able to collect the vomiting without requiring the crew member to put his head in the toilet “.