Artemis is NASA’s program to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. Humanity is going back to the Moon to establish a presence that will enable eventual crewed journeys to Mars. As we prepare for our return to the Moon, innumerable activities to equip, shelter, and otherwise support future astronauts are underway. These astronauts will be eating and drinking, and subsequently urinating and defecating in microgravity and lunar gravity. While astronauts are in the cabin and out of their spacesuits, they will need a toilet that has all the same capabilities as ones here on Earth.
NASA is calling on the global community for their novel design concepts for compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity. These designs may be adapted for use in the Artemis lunar landers that take us back to the Moon. Although space toilets already exist and are in use (at the International Space Station, for example), they are designed for microgravity only.
NASA is looking for a next-generation device that is smaller, more efficient, and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity. Getting back to the Moon by 2024 is an ambitious goal, and NASA is already working on approaches to miniaturize and streamline the existing toilets. But they are also inviting ideas from the global community, knowing that they will approach the problem with a mindset different from traditional aerospace engineering. This challenge hopes to attract radically new and different approaches to the problem of human waste capture and containment.
NASA wants to encourage the next generation of space explorers, engineers, and scientists, and we know that students may think about this design problem without the same constraints as adults.
So in addition to the main Technical category, this challenge will have a Junior category.
To submit to the Lunar Loo Junior category, you must be less than 18.
This Lunar Toilet Challenge has a total prize purse of $35,000 that will be shared among the teams submitting the top three designs in the Technical category.
The top three participants in the Junior category will each receive public recognition and an item of official NASA-logoed merchandise.
The detailed guidelines for this challenge are given here.
This challenge has two categories: Technical and Junior. Submissions to both categories are due no later than 5pmET on August 17, 2020. The winners for the Technical category will be announced on September 30, and the winners for the Junior category will be announced on October 20, 2020.
The Technical category has a total prize purse of $35,000 USD. Participants must be at least 18 years old. The authors of the three most compelling submissions in this category will each win:
- A cash prize
- An opportunity to talk directly with NASA engineers and possibly with an astronaut about the proposed toilet design
- A private tour of the Johnson Space Center (travel to Houston is not included)
This challenge will also recognize the top three submissions from the Junior category, one per age group. The authors of these three submissions will each receive: public recognition from NASA and from HeroX, a winner’s certificate, and an item of official NASA-logoed merchandise. Additional “mystery” prizes may also be awarded to winners of the Junior category. Such prizes could include a video call between the winner’s science class and an astronaut, or NASA-logoed specialty items (patches, pins, etc). To submit to this category, you must be less than 18 years of age.
Click here to submit to the Junior category.
Official NASA-logoed merchandise
Additional “mystery” prizes
|Open to submissions||June 25, 2020|
|Submission deadline||August 17, 2020 @ 5pm ET|
|Judging and evaluation (Technical)||August 18 – September 22, 2020|
|Winners Announced (Technical)||September 30, 2020|
|Judging and evaluation (Junior)||August 18 – October 13, 2020|
|Winners Announced (Junior)||October 20, 2020|
For full details and submission link, visit the website link given below.