Space Poop Challenge

Competition to source a system that routes and collects human waste away from the body, hands-free, for fully suited astronauts. Read Overview...
Total Prize Amount

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.



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.

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June 22, 2017, 9:33 a.m. PDT
You are here
Feb. 22, 2017, 12:39 p.m. PST
Think you know all the stats on Space Poop? Test yourself against our (nearly) comprehensive infographic and, of course, share it with your friends! Let us know how you like it in the comments ;)      
Feb. 16, 2017, 12:11 p.m. PST
We know many of you in the Space Poop community are eager to hear more information about the winning designs. Fortunately, NPR did an excellent job going in-depth with the winners regarding their concepts.  Here's the full-text of the article by Cam ... Read More
Feb. 15, 2017, 6 a.m. PST
HeroX Press Release announcing Space Poop Winners
Feb. 15, 2017, 9 a.m. PST
Winner Announcement coverage from Space.com
Feb. 15, 2017, 8 a.m. PST
This NPR article contains some details about the winning solutions as well as quotes from the winners.
Feb. 15, 2017, 6:52 a.m. PST
We’re preaching to the choir here, but it bears repeating: the NASA Space Poop Challenge didn’t just break HeroX records, but also broke records for the entire field of open innovation competitions. That’s right, folks, with more entries per day th ... Read More
Feb. 15, 2017, 6 a.m. PST
Space Poop winner announcement published by NASA.
Feb. 15, 2017, 6 a.m. PST
Winners Announced
Feb. 15, 2017, 5:59 a.m. PST
Judging Close
Feb. 5, 2017, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Space.com and NBCnews detailing how winning solutions might be incorporated into future NASA missions.
Feb. 6, 2017, 7:27 a.m. PST
Hi Space Poop community!   While you are waiting for the fast-approaching winner announcement, check out these free to download posters from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory! 
Jan. 6, 2017, 12:46 p.m. PST
Check it out: NASA is live streaming a space walk right now - don't miss it: Do you have a compelling story about your Space Poop Submission? You could win $1,000 just for sharing it with the Unleash Your Superhero Challenge! Additionally, if you' ... Read More
Jan. 4, 2017, 2 p.m. PST
Hello Again, Due to the large volume of responses (over 5,000!), we ask for your understanding in that the announcement of the winner of the Space Poop Challenge will no longer be taking place on January 31st. The new date for the winner announcemen ... Read More
Dec. 21, 2016, 7:24 a.m. PST
Hello Everyone, That sure went fast! The Space Poop Challenge has, as of 11:59pm ET last night, come to a close for submissions. And what a challenge it was! In the first days after publishing it, no one imagined the surge in media attention and pop ... Read More
Dec. 20, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Dec. 20, 2016, 8:59 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Dec. 20, 2016, 7 a.m. PST
Here it is, folks, the final day for Space Poop submissions. At exactly 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time (New York/USA), the challenge will be closed for new entries. If you missed it, yesterday's update details the full checklist for ensuring your bes ... Read More
Dec. 19, 2016, 12:36 p.m. PST
We are quickly approaching the final hours open for submission to the Space Poop Challenge. The deadline is tomorrow - Dec. 20, 2016  at exactly 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (New York/USA.)  Here are couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry ... Read More
Dec. 14, 2016, 1:28 p.m. PST
Did you know that the Space Poop Challenge has been covered by nearly 150 different media outlets around the world?  Maybe that's even how you found us! We've compiled a list of some of our favorites in the Challenge Page's Press Section.  From the ... Read More
Dec. 12, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
"Creative" solutions are covered in a sketch on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah!
Dec. 13, 2016, 7:30 a.m. PST
Yes, you read that correctly! There is only one week left to submit your entry for the Space Poop Challenge. Your absolute last chance will be at 11:59pm Eastern (US/New York) on December 20, 2016. That's next Tuesday, folks!  Some great resources ... Read More
Dec. 12, 2016, 9:42 a.m. PST
Hello Space Poop Community! A message was recieved by some that stated an incorrect challenge deadline in it.  The deadline has not changed and remains at 11:59pm Eastern Time (US/New York) on December 20th. Sorry for any confusion and good luck fi ... Read More
Dec. 8, 2016, 2:26 p.m. PST
We are so excited to see the great activity on the Space Poop Challenge!  We just wanted to post a couple reminders as we begin closing in on the December 20th submission deadline! Helpful resources Don't forget to review the Challenge Overview and ... Read More
Dec. 7, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Universe Today
Dec. 7, 2016, 7:30 a.m. PST
Hello All,  If you haven't seen it yet, here's our latest HeroX blog post, all about the different types of waste management in space. And while I can't believe how fast the time has gone, there are in fact only 15 days left to submit your solution ... Read More
Dec. 2, 2016, 11:06 a.m. PST
Whoa. It's been quite the week. The Space Poop Challenge has broken every HeroX record: number of countries represented, page views per day, press pick-ups, registrations, AND submissions...and it all just keeps rolling in. Amazing!  Thank you all ... Read More
Nov. 30, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Weather.com
Nov. 28, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from CBS News.
Nov. 27, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Popular Science.
Nov. 23, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Time Magazine!
Nov. 23, 2016, 1:07 p.m. PST
Hello Community!  For those of you in the US, we'd like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, and a restful holiday.  Here's an astronaut describing what it's like to have Thanksgiving in Space. If you haven't yet, we'd recommend catching up ... Read More
Nov. 15, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Coverage from Fast Company
Nov. 18, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Newsy article about the Space Poop challenge.
Nov. 16, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Space Poop Challenge coverage from International Business Times
Nov. 16, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Local Space Poop Challenge coverage from Houston, TX
Nov. 15, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Space.com coverage of Space Poop Challenge
Nov. 16, 2016, 9 p.m. PST
Space Poop Challenge coverage from ABC News
Nov. 16, 2016, 11:12 a.m. PST
Greetings Space Poop Community!  Check our blog (or the Space Poop challenge page itself) for an exclusive video from astronaut Richard Mastracchio. He talks all about the significance of this challenge and the breakthrough we're trying to create. ... Read More
Nov. 11, 2016, 10:20 a.m. PST
Happy Friday again, innovator community!  Hope you're all looking forward to a great weekend. If you find yourself with some spare time, however, it may be the best time to start reviewing the submission form, if you haven't already.  In order to ... Read More
Nov. 4, 2016, 12:24 p.m. PDT
Hello everyone!  The Space Poop Challenge is a few weeks underway, now, and it's fair to say most of your challenge-designated brain power is dedicated to solving it. Of course! That's exactly how it should be, which is this update is here to remind ... Read More
Oct. 28, 2016, 12:46 p.m. PDT
Hello All,  With the Space Poop Challenge now well underway, we hope you've had a chance to check out some of the features.  Did you know we have a forum specifically for this challenge? Seeing as the Space Poop Challenge community is growing fast, ... Read More
Oct. 21, 2016, 8:48 a.m. PDT
Greetings to our vibrant, budding challenge community!  We're glad you found your way to our challenge page, and thanks for taking an interest. This is certainly an incentive competition like none other, as you might've surmised! If you haven't yet ... Read More
Oct. 11, 2016, 3 a.m. PDT
Sept. 21, 2016, 9 p.m. PDT
Pre registration
Sept. 21, 2016, 10:45 a.m. PDT
Date Launched
Updates (21)
Forum (435)