Space Poop Challenge

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

In space, no one can hear you flush. This is 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 in their space suits. 

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

What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough

  • Read the complete challenge guidelines to see the rules and requirements for entry into the challenge.
  • “Accept Challenge” by clicking the button above to compete in the challenge. 
  • Follow the challenge above to be notified of any status updates to the challenge.
  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.



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. A crew member could 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 only a very temporary solution, and doesn’t provide a healthy/protective option longer than one day.


What a Breakthrough Looks Like

What's needed is a 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 has 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. This system will help keep astronauts alive and healthy over 6 days, or 144 hrs.

NASA Live Spacewalk and More

Jan. 6, 2017, 12:46 p.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

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're looking for another opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world, check out the Women's Safety XPRIZE and Echovation Challenge. Click below to learn more!



Timeline Update

Jan. 4, 2017, 2 p.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

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 announcement is February 16th. 

Thanks so much, again, for your efforts and participation. Thank you in advance for your patience in hearing the results!


Huge Thanks to the Space Poop Community

Dec. 21, 2016, 7:24 a.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

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 popularity this particular problem would bring. We especially didn't plan on Space Poop breaking all HeroX records and bringing us visitors from every country on Earth!

On behalf of all of us here at HeroX, I'd like to extend a rocket-ship sized THANKS to each individual in this challenge community. This is bigger than just one problem and one solution. Crowdsourced innovation has the power to build a better world for all of us, one collaboration at a time. Now that Space Poop has come to end, be sure to check out some our newest challenges that are just taking off: 


TODAY is the Last Day to Submit!

Dec. 20, 2016, 7 a.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

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 best possible submission. Give it a read and be sure to cover all of your bases! 

Huge thanks to everyone who has participated, and best of luck to all of you submitting today. 

Tomorrow is the Final Day for Submissions: Check Out These Tips

Dec. 19, 2016, 12:36 p.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

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 process:

1. Watch this general how-to video to better understand how the submission form works. 

2. Begin your submission process several hours before the cutoff time. This ensures a large window for uploading, as the site will likely be experiencing heavy traffic throughout the day.

3. Don't forget to upload supporting documents. There are two places on the submission for for file attachments. 

4. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this! 

5. Check out the FAQ section and the Space Poop Forum for answers to questions or clarification on a range of challenge-related topics. 

Thanks so much, and good luck to all!