Overview

The Problem

In space, no one can hear you flush. That's because in space, there are no toilets. While you may go about your life mostly unaffected by this, it is more of a challenge for our brave astronauts, dwelling in their space suits. 

After all: when you gotta go, you gotta go. And sometimes you gotta go in a total vacuum.

 

Background

Current space suits are worn for launch and entry activities and in-space activities to protect the crew from any unforeseen circumstances that the space environment can cause. An astronaut might find themselves in this suit for up to 10 hours at a time nominally for launch or landing, or up to 6 days if something catastrophic happens while in space.

The old standby solution consisted of diapers in case astronauts needed to relieve themselves. However, the diaper is a low-tech and very temporary solution. Most significantly, it doesn’t provide a healthy or protective option longer than one day.

 

What a Breakthrough Looks Like

What this challenge set out to crowdsource was a complete system inside a space suit that collects human waste for up to 144 hours and routes it away from the body, without the use of hands. The system had to operate in the conditions of space - where solids, fluids, and gases float around in microgravity (what most of us think of as "zero gravity") and don't necessarily mix or act the way they would on earth.  No small task there. 

Ultimately, the system developed from this challenge will help keep astronauts alive and healthy over six days, or 144 hrs.

Updates (21)
Forum (435)
Timeline
Guidelines
Community
Press
Resources
FAQ
Activity feed
show all
Chinese Pirate posted tweet
April 16, 2017, 9:06 p.m. PDT
#spacepoop #spacepotty #pottytime @ Endeavor Space shuttle https://t.co/GnljndJQcf
David Siegel posted tweet
March 31, 2017, 7:44 a.m. PDT
Get the scoop on space poop: https://t.co/qLQ2LOY97O
LiveScienceTech posted tweet
March 30, 2017, 1:11 p.m. PDT
We can't hold it in any longer: The winner of the #SpacePoop challenge has finally dropped! https://t.co/LQ02udzB4e https://t.co/X0TvnB74wj
Live Science posted tweet
March 30, 2017, 1:11 p.m. PDT
We can't hold it in any longer: The winner of the #SpacePoop challenge has finally dropped! https://t.co/gyzB9lbNZb https://t.co/McG0zzPvpi
Scitech☄️ posted tweet
March 30, 2017, 1:11 p.m. PDT
We can't hold it in any longer: The winner of the #SpacePoop challenge has finally dropped! … https://t.co/fF84ixdqBm
Lilia M. Ditarelli posted tweet
March 29, 2017, 11:33 p.m. PDT
The latest El Diario de Lilia! https://t.co/rj7UTfntJK #spacepoop
Lilia M. Ditarelli posted tweet
March 29, 2017, 7:18 p.m. PDT
The latest El Diario de Lilia! https://t.co/rj7UTfntJK #ledoymipalabra #spacepoop
SPACE.com posted tweet
March 29, 2017, 9:55 a.m. PDT
We can't hold it in any longer: The winner of the #SpacePoop challenge has finally dropped! https://t.co/QS5z5PptZ1
Flushy posted tweet
March 22, 2017, 2:08 p.m. PDT
@PooMuseum do you think meteorites are petrified space poop? #flushy #spacepoop
HeroX posted tweet
March 22, 2017, 10:43 a.m. PDT
Want to pick the brains of the #SpacePoop winners? Now, you can. Webinar, Mar. 28. https://t.co/0Dyw7sQJj2 https://t.co/20QFJ3p4j8