General, Research, Technology

Which toilet will the future inhabitants of the moon go to?

The first manned space flight was made 12April 1961 - our compatriot Yuri Gagarin became the hero. Since then, people have been in space many times, where they needed to solve a variety of problems. At the same time, astronauts and astronauts took care of their hygiene and dealt with the natural needs of specially designed toilets. The toilets that are currently used in spaceships and the International Space Station are already time-tested and do not really need to be improved. But in 2024, the NASA space agency wants to launch a man and woman not just into space, but directly to the surface of the moon. Researchers need to come up with a completely new space toilet, and ordinary people can help them in this matter.

Will lunar toilets look like this?

Toilet in space

NASA Representatives Announce Launcha new competition called the Lunar Loo Challenge. Everyone can take part in it, regardless of age and country of residence - participants are required to come up with a toilet concept for the Artemis space mission. As part of this mission, in 2024, NASA plans to send two male and female astronauts to the lunar surface. They will live inside the habitable module, which is currently being developed by specialists from Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX. There will be no toilet in it, but in the landing module, which will be able to descend from orbit to the surface, the toilet is simply necessary.

In 2024, astronauts will go to the moon in about such costumes.

NASA has a number of lavatory pansserious requirements. First of all, the new space toilet should weigh no more than 15 kilograms. Since there is no electric power source in space and should be treated sparingly, the device should not consume more than 70 watts of energy. For you to understand, such an indicator of energy consumption is very little. Even a curling iron for hair curls consumes about 90 watts of energy, that is, the toilet should consume no more energy than an ordinary incandescent lamp.

According to representatives of NASA, the space toilet should:

  • work both in zero gravity and on the surface of the moon, where gravity is six times weaker than earth;
  • cope with various types of waste, including vomiting and hygiene products;
  • withstand at least 6 uses per day and easy to clean;
  • occupy a volume of not more than 0.12 cubic meters;
  • serve both men and women.

You can send your lunar toilet project toLunar Loo Challenge contest website. The winner is promised to pay $ 35,000, as well as give the opportunity to chat with engineers and future Artemis program participants. But that's not all - an extra prize will be a tour of the Lyndon Johnson Space Center. Interestingly, participants will receive extra points if they come up with a toilet bowl that you won’t have to bend over while vomiting.

NASA has very high requirements for space toilets

Even teenagers can take part in the competitionunder 18 years old. For good ideas, they will receive a certificate, gifts with the NASA logo and other prizes, which are not yet mentioned. Acceptance of applications for participation in the competition is open until August 17, 2020.

See also: How can human urine help in building buildings on the moon?

How do astronauts go to the toilet?

What will a toilet for travel onIt’s still impossible to imagine the moon. For what the toilet looks like in spaceships and inside the International Space Station, this is no longer a secret. As a rule, spaceship toilets have a relatively simple design and are funnels with hoses that quickly eliminate all waste. The simplicity is due to the fact that astronauts do not stay inside spaceships for a long time - at the moment they are flying inside them to a space station.

Device for coping with the need for the Soyuz spacecraft

But the International Space Station hasas many as three toilets. The first is installed in the Star module, and the second is located in the Calm module. The third is made portable, so it does not have a primary location. Space toilets are very similar in appearance to those installed in our homes. But they are called "Waste and Hygiene Compartments" and have in their design a number of complex mechanisms.

International Space Station Toilet

For example, the toilet is equipped with fasteners for legs andhips. Instead of water, a vacuum is used - the waste is eliminated by air and flies into the suction port. Solid waste is stored in 20-liter containers and subsequently transferred to the cargo compartment of the Progress ship for further disposal. And liquid waste is split into oxygen and water, which can be reused. Before opening the door to the living room, the air from the toilet is cleaned of bacteria and odor.

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On the topic of space toilet I recommend readingmaterial of the author Nikolay Khizhnyak. He told several stories about the problems that tormented NASA astronauts for the whole 57 years - did you know that one of the first space explorers had to "go by himself"?