To Boldly Go: NASA Launches Lunar Loo Challenge

added 28.06.2020 23:03

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Including astronauts, who have since the early space era found ways to do their business in near-zero gravity -- from the Apollo missions when waste management was, in NASA's words, "a plastic bag which was taped to the buttocks to capture feces," to the more advanced toilets of the International Space Station that use fan-driven suction systems.

During the Apollo missions, urine expelled into space "froze into a shower of glistening ice crystal," author Craig Nelson poetically noted in his book "Rocket Men."

The toilet should work on the Moon's gravity, which is about a sixth of the Earth's -- so urine and feces will fall, though there will be less of a plop.

Now the US space agency is calling on the world's inventors to develop a toilet that works not just in microgravity, but also lunar gravity on a future lunar lander spacecraft, as part of its plans to return to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis mission.

The astronauts also left bags of waste on the Moon's surface, which NASA has said it one day hopes to study for signs of life.