NASA’s Project Artemis will see the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. It’s an ambitious timeline that requires a huge amount of preparation, and that includes quite a few not-so kickass elements of space travel. Such as toilets. Astronauts have gotta poop in some fairly challenging circumstances, and now NASA is crowdsourcing ideas that will make things easier.
Of course, space toilets do already exist (at the International Space Station, for example), but NASA wants a new iteration that’s smaller, more efficient and — critically — works in both microgravity and lunar gravity. Current space johns are designed for microgravity (weightlessness) only. Lunar gravity is approximately one sixth of Earth’s gravity, so bodily fluids and the like will “fall down,” but more slowly, which brings its own icky challenges.