NASA is trying to figure out how to recycle human waste, including faeces and the carbon dioxide we breathe, into useful products
And recycling waste could help astronauts take on longer missions without hampering the amount of resources they can bring in
ZDNET revealed that these recycled products will be like “space gold.”” For astronauts who will spend a significant amount of time in space before returning to Earth.
The only problem, however, is that NASA isn’t sure how this “space gold” is made. Which is why a new crowdsourcing challenge, Waste to Base Material Challenge: Sustainable Reprocessing in Space, is looking for people to help them solve this problem.
The Nasa Tournament Lab is offering a $24,000 prize to the person or team with the best idea.
“Help NASA improve future space missions by suggesting approaches to allow efficient reprocessing/recycling/reuse of onboard resources,” the US space agency’s lab website explains.
The site goes on to say that anyone wishing to advance should imagine being on a two- to three-year journey to Mars with limited supplies.
He continued, “This challenge is about finding ways to turn waste into basic materials and other useful things, such as fuel or raw materials for 3D printing. We are looking for your ideas on how to turn different waste into useful materials that can then be turned into desired things and can be recycled multiple times, We are looking for ideas to turn waste into propulsive energy.
“Ultimately, we would like to integrate all the different processes into a robust ecosystem that allows a spacecraft to launch from Earth with the lowest possible mass,” the site added.
The NASA Tournament Lab is seeking ideas on how to recycle trash, fecal waste, packaging foam and carbon dioxide.
The winning ideas in each of these categories will receive a prize of $1,000, while the grand prize of $24,000 will be awarded to the best overall idea.
And some recycling in space is already happening on current missions, as astronauts on the International Space Station have been using a wastewater recycling system since 2009.
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