NASA wants game-changing space toilet, waste systems

NASA, Nike US government offer challenge to build advanced waste systems

nasa solid waste system
One of the major challenges for any prolonged manned space mission is the disposal of waste - human or general garbage.

A unique team comprised of NASA, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department and Nike today announced a challenge to identify what they called "10 game-changing innovations"  that could transform waste-management systems and practices in space and on Earth.

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 "Humans living off the planet require waste solutions that mirror issues facing people on Earth. In the hostile environment of space, waste must be eliminated or transformed in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The innovations, which will be presented at the sustainability forum, LAUNCH: Beyond Waste, may lead to practical applications for astronauts as we send humans deeper into our solar system.," NASA stated. 

The challenge will be open April 1-May 15 and will seek creative solutions to minimize waste or transform it into new products. Forum partners will select 10 companies to present their technology at the LAUNCH: Beyond Waste forum, hosted by NASA July 20-22, at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

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Previous LAUNCH forums have resulted in innovations, including technology that enables irrigation using brackish, saline and polluted water; a biodegradable needle that can deliver vaccines or medicine under the skin using a pressure device; a tiny holographic microscope attached to a cell phone that can detect parasites and bacteria in blood and water in remote locations; a handheld lab-in-a-box that diagnoses a variety of diseases in a matter of minutes; a modular, flexible smart-grid distribution technology to provide access to power for those in need; and a simple, affordable fuel cell that converts biomass directly to electricity., NASA stated.

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