Seattle Air Force doc wins NASA's 'Space Poop Challenge'

CaptionCloseAn Air Force flight surgeon from Seattle is helping astronauts go where they’ve never gone before — cracking a problem that has vexed NASA since Mercury astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. famously wet his pressure suit prior to becoming...

Seattle Air Force doc wins NASA's 'Space Poop Challenge'

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An Air Force flight surgeon from Seattle is helping astronauts go where they’ve never gone before — cracking a problem that has vexed NASA since Mercury astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. famously wet his pressure suit prior to becoming the first American in space.

Dr. Thatcher “Thomas” Cardon, working in a spare room of his house on Laughlin Air Force Base, developed a way to let America’s high flyers relieve themselves with no muss and no fuss: an adaptable hygiene spacesuit system that cleans up after itself.

Responding to NASA’s Space Poop Challenge, he brainstormed a solution in around a half hour, then put the system together using $200 worth of materials he bought at dollar and hardware stores. NASA announced Wednesday that he had won a $15,000 cash prize, beating out 20,000 people who collaborated on 5,100 entries submitted to the contest.

NASA is asking for everyone's help in coming up with new ways they can handle needs the human beings who are astronauts have in terms of waste. They're calling in 'The Poop Challenge' and there's a reward in it too. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains.

“It all seems pretty simple to me. I’m just amazed that nobody came up with it,” Col. Cardon, a family practice physician who calls Seattle home, told the San Antonio Express-News. “I wish I had been there to invent quantum theory and not space poop handling methods, but I guess I’ll take the minor achievement.”

sigc@express-news.net

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