Per Recycling Ad Astra: NASA Seeks New Ideas About Managing Fecal Waste in Space

Space Toilette
Space Toilette - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2022
The challenge issued by the space agency seeks input about "waste management/conversion" in four categories: trash, fecal waste, foam packaging material and carbon dioxide processing.
While a manned mission to Mars is still a thing of the perhaps not-so-distant future, as well as science fiction novels and movies, US space agency NASA has recently issued a call to help it solve an important aspect of such a venture.
As the flight to the Red Planet and back may take between two to three years, and resupplying this mission may or may not be possible, waste recycling becomes an important factor in ensuring the success of the whole undertaking.
Under the auspices of the so called “Waste to Base Materials Challenge”, NASA has asked the public for their input about possible ways to “convert waste into base materials and other useful things, like propellant or feedstock for 3D printing”.
"We are looking for your ideas for how to convert different waste streams into useful materials that can then be made into needed things and cycled through multiple times - and we are looking for ideas to convert waste into propellant," the description of the challenge on the HeroX crowdsourcing platform says. "Eventually, 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 challenge seeks ideas for “waste management/conversion” in four distinct categories: trash, fecal waste, foam packaging material and carbon dioxide processing.
Artist’s impression provided by the European Space Agency, ESA, depicting the separation of the ExoMars 2016 entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, named Schiaparelli, center, from the Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO,left, and heading for Mars - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.12.2021
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The winning ideas in each category are going to be awarded a $1,000 prize each, while ideas recognised by judges as “best in class” are also going to be awarded a $1,000 prize; the total prize purse amounts to $24,000.
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