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Record-Breaking NASA Space Poop Challenge Announces Winners

BY MAUREEN MURTHA | 2 min read

The challenge began humbly enough. The NASA Space Poop Challenge sought the answer to a serious design question for future spacesuits: if they are to be truly habitable for long durations, as they would need to be in an emergency situation, how does the astronaut safely relieve him or herself?

With that, what might’ve once been executed through a sober set of RFPs, proposals, and white papers via private inboxes, was set loose as a truly wild idea on the internet. Enter the magic of crowdsourcing.

The Space Poop Challenge, within a matter of weeks after its launch, spread its meme-wings and soared across various news aggregators until it went undeniably “viral.”

The results?

  • More than 5,000 proposed solutions from 19,000 individual registered competitors were submitted.
  • Participation from more than 150 teams from every country and continent on Earth (including Antarctica!)
  • The challenge received unprecedented attention from top-tier media outlets, including NPR, The Washington Post, The Iran Daily,, Popular Science, ABC News, NBC News,, and Time Magazine. The Space Poop Challenge also inspired a lengthy sketch comedy bit on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.
  • An especially active online community viewed the challenge video over 100,000 times, generated nearly 400 conversations on the challenge forum, and shared the challenge more than 6,000 times on social media
  • In just one month, the challenge website had over 300,000 page views from 2,000 unique sources from around the world (the most challenge site traffic in HeroX history)

And in case you were wondering, we do have the long-awaited results.

The top award recipients are:

$15,000 Prize

$10,000 Prize

$5,000 Prize

While we were only able to award three prizes, there were many outstanding entries and NASA would also like to acknowledge the following semi-finalists (in no particular order):

The lesson here? Never doubt the power of our own fascination with extremes. It would seem that the NASA Space Poop Challenge spoke to both our most intimate knowledge of our own bodies and the incomprehensible mystery Needless to say, while it may have been a recipe for crowdsourcing history, the results will yield a critical ingredient to the future of spaceflight.

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  • Make Alert Oct. 24, 2017, 11:51 p.m. PDT
    Hi Admin
    This is a Great Article. I really appreciate this for real life. This issue has and still is so important and you have addressed it so Informative.
  • Rajendra Maini March 8, 2017, 4:04 p.m. PST
    This was a challenge I really wanted apply myself to. I was not convinced by my own idea so I didn't enter. It was to have silicone inserts which become part of the body and taken out of the space suit in a canister..
  • Nima Zandvakili Feb. 19, 2017, 10:15 a.m. PST
    My idea:
  • Alberto Viveros Feb. 16, 2017, 3:24 p.m. PST
    Feeling proud of myself even though my submission was not selected as one of the 3 winners, congratulations to them and the other 20 selected ones!
    looking forward to compete again in another challenge,
    Best regards to everybody!
  • Eric Knight Feb. 16, 2017, 2:39 p.m. PST
    I see that some solutions are very similar. I submitted a solution using rechargeable vacuum canister to pull away waist. I will attach one of many low res images that was included in my submission.

    I am curious how solution number 2 will blow air into a pressurized space suit. Number one does not seem practical to me.

    I see you spent some time on your design also. I just thought that it was a fun thing to do. It's not about the prize, its about the adventure and bragging rights.

    I do not think i will send anymore info to these challenges for reasons that you have addressed.

    Also note that they have taken down yesterdays posts, you are not the only disgruntled submitter.

    I am glad that I did not include all the special details about materials and manufacturing processes.

    Have a great day, God Bless.
  • mbndupuy Feb. 16, 2017, 5:24 a.m. PST
    Great, thank you .. an other post on the forum is giving an other link with some more details on the winners solution.
  • Jared Morehead Feb. 15, 2017, 9:23 p.m. PST
    I have searched for the internet for some sort of results video on the winners. And I got this web page minuscule video and a hastily written report of idea's we only know the names of. It would be cool if you could make a video on the winners and their idea's in detail. Will there be a press release if there won't be? Also If you can't do either of those why not link their idea's from the submission post?
  • Dirk Christensen Feb. 15, 2017, 6:52 p.m. PST
    Seriously, all we get is the names of the winners and the titles of their entries?
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