NASA has made it clear that it wants the country to return to the moon by 2024. Because this isn't a quick pitstop, the space agency and HeroX have put up $35,000 in prizes for the engineer(s) who can create a practical lunar latrine. But, there are a few needs that have to be met for this new design. First, the ensuing mission will feature the first female astronaut to travel to the moon. As a result, the toilet has to be able to accommodate both men and women.
Also, the toilet might be adapted for the Artemis lunar lander. So, it will need to be able to function in both the microgravity of space and on the moon where gravity is just a sixth of what we feel on Earth. Additionally, there are limited resources on the moon, forcing designers to make a toilet that can conserve water as well as make the astronauts' lives easier.
"Bonus points will be awarded to designs that can capture vomit without requiring the crew member to put his/her head in the toilet," the guidelines say per CNN.
The apparatus should be able to support the crew for 14 days. It should be easy to clean and allow for the collection of waste to storage or disposal outside of the vehicle. The device has to weigh less than 33 pounds on Earth and be less than .12 cubic meters in volume. The first place design will receive $20,000, second place will get $10,000 while third place will be awarded $5,000. The deadline to submit designs is Aug. 17 and the winners will be revealed in October.