HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Artemis astronauts exploring the Moon will use the most advanced space systems of the 21st century – including some of the most basic home comforts, like a toilet. NASA is calling on the global community to help innovate space toilet concepts through the Lunar Loo Challenge.
The evolution of the space toilet began with the space shuttle, so astronauts living aboard the International Space Station use a toilet designed for long-duration missions in microgravity. Astronauts exploring on the Moon, however, will need a smaller, lighter, simpler toilet inside their lunar lander, because every ounce of mass on the lander is carefully allocated. For every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of mass, 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of propellant is needed to descend to the lunar surface and launch back to lunar orbit.
The Lunar Loo Challenge seeks novel design concepts for low-mass, compact toilets that can reduce the current state-of-the art toilet mass by more than half – from 54 kg to 31 kg – and reduce the volume by 70% – from 0.17 cubic meters to 0.12 cubic meters. For comparison, the standard toilet you might have in your house weighs 30-60 kg, but ...