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NASA needs your help designing a toilet for astronauts

NASA needs you to get to business, so its astronauts can do theirs.
Credit: NASA

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yes, you read that right. NASA is asking for help to design a toilet for its astronauts on their Artemis mission to the moon set for 2024.

The reason? Because every ounce of mass counts.

According to NASA, this mission's flight requires a smaller, lighter and simpler toilet than its Space Shuttle missions did due to the size of the lunar lander and because every ounce is carefully allocated.

Now, here's where you come in. NASA has launched the "Lunar Loo Challenge," where they are asking for novel design concepts for low-mass, compact toilets that can reduce the current state-of-the-art toilet mass by more than half.

“Our astronauts accomplish amazing feats of science and space exploration. But at the end of the day, they’re still human. We need to provide them with the same necessities as here on Earth so they can continue to do their job,” said Mike Interbartolo, manager of the Lunar Loo Challenge out of NASA’s Human Landing System Crew Compartment Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  

Under your design, astronauts must be able to do their business safely in both lunar gravity and microgravity.

Once selected, the toilet will be used on the lander set to the first woman and the next man on the surface of the moon by 2024, according to NASA.

The last time an American walked on the moon was back in 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission. Astronaut Harrison Schmitt the last U.S. man to step foot on the moon.

There are two categories for entry: technical Prize and Junior Challenge.

The technical prize category is open to those 18-and-up, while the Junior Challenge is for those 12-years-old or younger. In any age group, you can enter as a team or an individual.

The adult winners, with the top three designs, will be flush with $35,000. While the pre-teens will each receive public recognition and an item of official NASA merchandise.

If you'd like to enter you can find more information here.

Now get to business, so they can do theirs.

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