Space Poop Challenge - NASA Announces Winners

1st Mar 2017

On Wednesday (15 Feb) morning, NASA rewarded five members of the public - two doctors, a dentist, an engineer and a product designer - for their creative ideas for how to poop in a spacesuit.

The winning solution came from Thatcher Cardon, an Air Force officer, family practice physician and flight surgeon. He says his design was inspired by minimally invasive surgical techniques - and a strong desire not to store the poop.

He designed a small airlock at the crotch of the suit, with a variety of items - including inflatable bedpans and diapers - that could be passed through the small opening and then expanded. His design even allows an astronaut to change underwear while inside the spacesuit, through the same small opening.

Second place went to a trio from Houston, they designed the Air-PUSH Urinary Girdle. They explain: "Air flows through the top of the device to direct urinary and/or menstrual waste in an anteroposterior direction, where it then exits via the larger tube at the bottom of the device."

Shelley, the third ranking winner's, design is "built into a form-fitting garment that is worn underneath the pressure suit," he says. "It features a new catheter design for extended use in microgravity, combined with a mechanism that compresses, seals and sanitizes solid waste."

Cardon won $15,000, while the trio from Houston took home $10,000 and Shelley netted $5,000.

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