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NASA looking to solve astronauts’ pooping issues in space

/ 07:04 PM November 28, 2016
37428070 - astronaut in outer space against the backdrop of the planet earth.

Astronaut – File Photo

Where exactly do astronauts’ bodily fluids go when they’re in space?

This question has been a running gag for humanity for years and, apparently, even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking for new and better ways to answer this question.

The world’s leading space agency is offering $30,000 (P1,492,034) for anyone who can figure out a better way for astronauts to answer the call of nature while in space.

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Currently, astronauts are using a funnel device connected at the International Space Station when they urinate, while they opt for a vacuum when they do number two, according to an official NASA statement.

However, the long travel time between missions—especially with the upcoming trip to Mars project—would make it impossible for astronauts to use the traditional way of waste management.

Also, the subjects wear pressurized suits, which don’t even allow them to scratch their noses, let alone be able to properly wipe themselves.

Due to these circumstances, NASA is now looking for hands-free solutions to aid their astronauts, since adult diapers just doesn’t seem to get the job done anymore.

“The diaper is only a very temporary solution, and doesn’t provide a healthy and protective option longer than one day,” NASA’s description of the competition said.

In addition to storage problems, gravity issues could also make fluids blob up and stick to surfaces, while solids could float in the air.

“You don’t want any of these solids and fluids stuck to your body for six days,” Nasa added, citing diaper rash as a major problem.

NASA’s “Space Poop Challenge” is open to participants of all ages who can come up with ingenious ways to deal with urine, fecal matter and menstrual blood efficiently.

Interested applicants have until Dec. 20 to submit their ideas on this website, for a system that needs work hands free for six days.

NASA will reportedly test the winning ideas within a year and hopefully implement them by 2020.  Khristian Ibarrola

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TAGS: Astronaut, cash prize, contest, excrement, NASA, Space Poop Challenge
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