Modern toilet is a miracle of engineering, but it largely depends on gravity. This makes it special equipment designed only for Earth. To write in zero gravity — the high-tech, but NASA decided to challenge it and announced a contest for the best design of the space toilet. This writes BGR.
NASA offers $20,000 for the best design of toilet which will not only work in microgravity, but also on the surface of the moon. But even if you do not create a winning design, there are significant rewards for second and third places, which will bring $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Of course, the Moon is not completely devoid of gravity, but its gravity is only one sixth of what is on Earth. Under these conditions, the entire drain mechanism will have to be revised.
There are other limitations, including size. The toilet can not be more than 4.2 cubic feet (0.1 cubic meter), and it should work relatively quiet, generating a noise greater than 60 decibels. As for its capabilities, the toilet should be able to capture as feces and urine at the same time. There are also requirements as to capacity, the toilet needs to be able to hold up to a liter of urine.
Artemis mission to the moon will be very different from the missions of the Apollo program. At that time human waste was not a big problem. The astronauts collected urine was released into space from the command module and even left bags of feces on the surface of the moon. So, the presence of a suitable toilet during the stay on the moon is a big improvement.
The competition will be open until 17 August, after which the acceptance of applications will be closed and will be selected the best design. There is no guarantee that NASA will use the exact design submitted by the winner, but the space Agency obviously hopes to gain inspiration for their own design of the lunar toilet, so you can still be a part of history, even if it is the story of the moon.