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NASA Wants Your Help To Deal With Space Poop

NASA 需要你幫忙處理太空便便


太空人MARK LEE正在太空漫步,by NASA


Being in a microgravity environment presents astronauts with some interesting challenges, and one of them is how to hygienically dispose of the many types of waste produced by the human body.

Although there are two toilets on the International Space Station (ISS), when astronauts are in space suits during launch, reentry, and spacewalks they don’t have the luxury of bathroom breaks. During those times, which could be up to 10 hours, they wear diapers because there are no other solutions. They have to go, where no one has gone before. 


在無重力環境中太空人們要面對許多有趣的挑戰,其中一項就是如何衛生地處理人體產生的廢棄物。雖然國際太空站(International Space StationISS)有兩間廁所,當太空人在離開大氣層、重返大氣層與太空漫步時,他們無法擁有使用洗手間的時間。在這些可以高達十小時的時段裡,他們只能穿著尿布,沒有別的方法,因為他們要去一個誰都沒有去過的地方。


But with deep space missions to the Moon and Mars looming on the horizon, NASA says that diapers will not be a suitable solution for disposing of urine, menstrual blood, and feces. So, they are using the crowdsourcing website HeroXto launch an open competition to solve this problem.

What’s needed is a system inside a space suit that collects human waste for up to 144 hours and routes it away from the body, without the use of hands,” NASA states on the competition page.

The system has to operate in the conditions of space – where solids, fluids, and gasses float around in microgravity and don’t necessarily mix or act the way they would on Earth.”


但是當深太空任務deep-space mission)出現,例如前往月球或火星的任務,NASA 表示尿布已經不能當作處理排泄物、經血等廢棄物的解決方式了。所以他們透過群眾外包網站HeroX發起一個開放性的比賽以解決這個問題。


NASA 在比賽頁面表示:「我們需要一個設置在太空衣中、能在高達144 小時的時間中收集人體廢棄物,並有把廢棄物排出的途徑,使太空人無需用雙手處理這些事。這個系統要在一個固體、液體以及氣體到處漂浮的,與地球情況截然不同的無重力環境下見效,」


In space, solids bounce around while liquids form blobs and stick to surfaces. It might seem comical imagining a space suit slowly filling with waste, but it’s not only unhealthy, it’s terrifyingly dangerous. Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano risked drowning during a spacewalk in 2014 when his suit began filling with water.


在太空中,固體到處彈跳,液體為滴狀並黏在表面。或許想像太空衣逐漸充滿廢棄物很好笑,但這情況不只不健康,甚至是很危險。義大利太空人Luca Parmitano在2014 年太空漫步時差點被淹死,當時他的太空衣逐漸被水填滿。


Finding a solution for waste management is clearly crucial for NASA. And if the glory of being an Interplanetary Poop Engineer” isn’t appealing enough, the project also has three prizes of up to $30,000 for the successful designs. It’s open to individuals, as well as private, public, and academic teams.

The deadline for this project is December 20, and NASA would like to test the solution within a year and fully implement it within three.

So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to solve this sticky situation for NASA, go and apply!




對NASA 來說人體廢棄物管理很明顯非常重要。這個比賽的勝者獎賞不只有成為「星際便便工程師」的榮耀,更有高達美金三萬元的總獎金!這個比賽接受個人、私人團隊、公家團隊或學術團隊的參與。期限是十二月二十日,NASA 會用一年的時間測試提出的方法,並且用三年實施。所以如果你有點子可以解決NASA 的難題,現在就報名參加吧!