Nasa wants to turn POO and even astronaut breath into 'space gold' with genius waste system

NASA is trying to work out how to recycle human waste, including poo and the carbon dioxide we breathe out, into useful products.

Recycling waste could help astronauts go on longer missions without being held back by the amount of resources they can bring.

As ZDNET points out, these recycled products would be like 'space gold' for astronauts who won't be coming back to Earth any time soon.

The only problem is, Nasa isn't sure how to create this 'space gold'.

That's why a new crowdsourcing challenge called Waste to Base Materials Challenge: Sustainable Reprocessing in Space is looking for people to help them work this out.

This Nasa Tournament Lab is offering a $24,000 (£17,700) prize to the person or team with the best idea.

The website explains: "Help NASA improve future space missions by proposing approaches to permit efficient reprocessing/recycling/repurposing of onboard resources."

It goes on to tell any one wishing to apply that they should imagine they're on a two to three year journey to Mars with limited supplies.

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It states: "This challenge is all about finding 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. 

"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 Nasa Tournament Lab wants ideas about how to recycle trash, fecal waste, foam packaging materials and carbon dioxide.

Winning ideas in each of these categories get a prize of $1,000 (£738) and the other $24,000 prize is for the best idea overall.

Some recycling in space already occurs on current missions.

Astronauts on the International Space Station have been using a water recycling system since 2009.

It helps them recycle urine and water from condensation.

In other news, China has built an 'artificial moon' to train its astronauts for future missions.

A huge asteroid was captured in eerie footage as it shot past Earth this week.

And, here’s why pilots think 5G could be ‘catastrophic’ for airplanes.

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