NASA's Human Landing System (HLS) Program


NASA's Lunar Loo Challenge

Help astronauts go back to the Moon in 2024! NASA seeks new designs for a toilet that will work both in microgravity and lunar gravity.

Challenge Overview

We are going back to the Moon.  

Artemis is NASA’s program to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.  Humanity is going back to the Moon to establish a presence that will enable eventual crewed journeys to Mars.  As we prepare for our return to the Moon, innumerable activities to equip, shelter, and otherwise support future astronauts are underway.  These astronauts will be eating and drinking, and subsequently urinating and defecating in microgravity and lunar gravity.  While astronauts are in the cabin and out of their spacesuits, they will need a toilet that has all the same capabilities as ones here on Earth.  

NASA is calling on the global community for their novel design concepts for compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity.  These designs may be adapted for use in the Artemis lunar landers that take us back to the Moon.  Although space toilets already exist and are in use (at the International Space Station, for example), they are designed for microgravity only.  NASA is looking for a next-generation device that is smaller, more efficient, and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity.  Getting back to the Moon by 2024 is an ambitious goal, and NASA is already working on approaches to miniaturize and streamline the existing toilets.  But they are also inviting ideas from the global community, knowing that they will approach the problem with a mindset different from traditional aerospace engineering.  This challenge hopes to attract radically new and different approaches to the problem of human waste capture and containment.

We want to encourage the next generation of space explorers, engineers, and scientists, and we know that students may think about this design problem without the same constraints as adults.  So in addition to the main Technical category, this challenge will have a Junior category.  To submit to the Junior category, you must be less than 18.  

This Lunar Toilet Challenge has a total prize purse of $35,000 that will be shared among the teams submitting the top three designs in the Technical category.  The top three participants in the Junior category will each receive public recognition and an item of official NASA-logoed merchandise.

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June 28, 2020, 8:22 p.m. PDT
While space exploration is pretty amazing, one thing which seems to be bothering NASA when they send astronauts back to the moon is where will they go for bathroom breaks on reaching the lunar surface. National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has announced the "Lunar Loo Challenge" to come up with the best space toilet for the agency's future human lander. According to a NASA statement, "While astronauts are in the cabin and out of their spacesuits, they will need a toilet that has all the same capabilities as ones here on Earth."

GIZMODO | NASA: Help Us Make Pooping on the Moon Even Better

June 28, 2020, 6:25 p.m. PDT
^click title for full story. Has there ever been a more important duty? (heh... duty) When the Apollo astronauts went to the moon back in the ‘60s, they got there on a spacecraft with precisely zero bathrooms. For going number one, NASA provided them with a rubber tube the crew could put on like a condom that would whisk pee away either to a storage container or into space. For number two, the agency came up with a cutting-edge, high-tech solution: poop bags. For its next trip to the moon slated for 2024, NASA’s really trying to keep that from happening again.

VICE | NASA Will Give You $20,000 If They Like Your ‘Lunar Loo’ Design

June 28, 2020, 3:52 p.m. PDT
^ click title for full story. Space travel might be exciting and glamorous but one question that most people have had for astronauts over the decades—apart from whether they have sex in space—is how they pee and poop up there. The scoop on poop might not be all that thrilling to discuss and an engineering puzzle that still needs to be perfected. But if you do build a galactic crapper that NASA likes for the 2024 Artemis moon mission, it can make you very rich.

GLOBAL News | Lunar Loo Challenge: NASA searches for toilet that will work on the moon

June 28, 2020, 3 p.m. PDT
^click title for full story. As NASA prepares for an eventual return to the Moon, researchers are hard at work trying to solve a major problem for astronauts - using the toilet on the lunar surface.

Yahoo Finance AU | NASA offering $51k (AUD) to redesign common household item

June 28, 2020, 10 a.m. PDT
^ click title for full story. What happens when you combine zero gravity and a toilet? For NASA, the answer is a challenge and they’re paying big to find someone to help them solve it. The US space agency is offering up to AU$51,000 (US$35,000) in prize money to the person who can design a toilet designed for its Artemis lunar lander. It will need to function in low gravity on the moon, which is around one-sixth of the gravity felt on earth, and in zero gravity in space. The toilet needs to function for both men and women, and will also need to conserve water and be odour and contaminant free. Designers have until 17 August with the winners to be announced on 20 October.