NASA is asking inventors and entrepreneurs to create a toilet to manage waste from astronauts on a nine-month journey to Mars.

The latest US-based space agency has teamed up with HeroX to launch this campaign. It is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Known as the ‘Waste to Base Challenge’, it asks the public to provide inventive approaches to waste management and conversion in four categories – faecal waste, trash, foam packaging and carbon dioxide processing. 

Each winner will receive $1,000, and the top ideas might be used in future NASA technology to travel to Mars. 

NASA has put out a call to entrepreneurs and inventors to come up with a toilet that can manage the waste of astronauts making a nine-month trip to Mars. This is a moon loo prototype

NASA is asking inventors and entrepreneurs to create a toilet capable of handling the waste from astronauts on a nine-month journey to Mars. The prototype for a moon loo is here 

NASA intends to send a man-powered mission to Mars in 2030s  

Mars represents the next major leap in human exploration of outer space.

Before humans reach Mars, however, there will be a number of steps taken by astronauts to return to Earth for an entire year.

In a timeline that leads to Mars missions, the details of a mission to lunar orbit were revealed.

Greg Williams (then deputy administrator for policy and planning at Nasa), outlined four stages of the agency’s plan in May 2017.

It believes that the plan will allow humanity to eventually visit Mars.

Phase one and phase two Multiple trips will be required to reach lunar space in order to construct a habitat, which will act as a staging zone for the trip.

This would include the Deep Space Transport vehicle, which would then be used later to transport a crew to Mars. 

In 2027, a simulation for a year of Mars life will take place. 

Phases three and four will start after 2030. They will include crew expeditions to Mars’ surface and Martian system.

Future Mars missions, which include time on Mars, may take three years. However, there is not much scope to dispose of or gather new material.

NASA has begun to seek out solutions for waste management that can be used on future Mars spacecrafts.

Space agencies traditionally put out projects for tender. Large engineering firms bid to be the first to develop and design a solution.

In recent years, NASA has used the HeroX platform to seek inspiration from a wider variety of sources — sometimes in the form of a competition. 

HeroX seeks ‘innovative ways to repurpose recycle and reprocess the onboard waste to ensure mission sustainability for this project.

Because logistics to supply Mars missions can be very complicated, it is essential that the spacecraft are as self-sufficient and efficient as possible. 

This is a challenge that focuses on converting waste into base materials or other useful items, such as base matter and propellant for 3D printing.  

Spokesperson: “The challenge lies in looking for ideas on how to transform different waste streams into propellant, into useful materials that then can be made into required things and cycled multiple times,”

NASA believes that a cycle with a high degree of efficiency can not be created, although it’s possible.

NASA may eventually combine all of these processes to create a strong ecosystem which allows spacecrafts to be launched from Earth at the lowest mass possible.

‘This is exactly what our crowd is poised to do: solve intractable problems with an eye for efficiency and sustainability,’ said Kal K. Sahota, President & CEO of HeroX. I am looking forward to seeing the submissions. 

Each of the following four categories has multiple winners: trash, waste from feces, foam packaging materials, carbon dioxide processing.

The winners will be awarded a prize of $1,000 (£735) and judges will recognise four ideas as ‘best in class’ with an additional prize of $1,000.

In total the prize purse is worth $24,000 (£17,650), and the best ideas could later be commissioned and integrated into NASA missions.

The prize is open to anyone aged 18 or older, with both teams and individuals invited to take part — from any country where the US has no sanctions. 

The current ISS toilet system. Space toilets have been designed predominantly with men in mind and can cause problems for female astronauts

Current ISS sanitation system. Female astronauts may have problems with space toilets because they were designed for men. 

This is the latest campaign by the US space agency, operating in partnership with leading crowd-sourcing platform HeroX, based in Houston, Texas

The latest US-based space agency has teamed up with HeroX to launch this campaign.

NASA Artemis’ ultimate goal is to send missions to Mars. The program will begin in 2011 with an uncrewed mission around the moon. 

NASA will launch the Orion capsule in 2024 with its full crew, and then the Orion capsule to orbit the moon. Artemis III is the year that Artemis III sends the first woman, and the second man, to reach the surface.

NASA will use the Artemis program to send humans and robots to the moon, allowing them both to discover more than they have ever seen before.  

A sustainable lunar presence is also desired to be a “stepping stone” for the first mission of humans to Mars. 

NASA will be the first to land a woman and a man on the moon by 2024 in the Artemis mission

Artemis, the twin sister Apollo’s goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology was called Artemis. 

NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 –  including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1 (formerly Exploration Mission-1) is the first mission in a series to enable humans exploration of Mars and the moon. 

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  

Artemis 1 is an uncrewed space flight. It will serve as a base for deep space exploration by humans, and will demonstrate our ability to expand human life to the moon. 

This flight will see the spacecraft launch from the top of the strongest rockets in the world, and travel further than any other spacecraft designed for human use.

In three weeks, it will cover 280,000 km (450,600km) distance from Earth. This is thousands of miles more than what the moon can offer. 

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission

Artemis 1 (formerly Exploration Mission-1) is one of several increasingly complicated missions that will permit human exploration to Mars and the moon. This graphic shows the different stages of the mission.

Orion will remain in space for longer than any other ship designed to carry astronauts, and it will return home hotter and faster than ever before. 

NASA’s first space exploration mission is a major step in human exploration deep into space. NASA astronauts will begin building and testing systems close to the moon for exploration of other planets farther away from Earth. 

The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard. 

Orion and SLS will work together to support the crew and cargo needs of the deepest space missions.

NASA hopes to have a permanent human presence on the Moon by 2028, as part of its Artemis mission.

Space agency hopes that this colony will make scientific breakthroughs, show technological improvements and provide the basis for private businesses to create a lunar economy.