Duravit receives third place prize for NASA’s Artemis Program
NASA awarded Duravit a third place prize in a proposal call to engineer a toilet for the Artemis program, which is expected to send the first female astronaut to the moon in 2024.
After receiving over 20,000 proposal entries, NASA announced the three best designs on October 22, 2020. The first two ranks were awarded to expert teams from the United States and Duravit’s Franziska Wülker was the only non-American and female engineer to be. Each team will additionally receive a $35,000 prize.
“We are extremely proud that Franziska Wülker was able to conceive and complete such an ingenious project alongside her regular work. Third place is a considerable achievement that is testament to our expertise in the field of toilet technology,” said Thomas Stammel, Chief Technical Officer at Duravit AG.
The Duravit space toilet works in a weightless environment and on the moon for both male and female astronauts – thanks to its optimized sitting geometry.
Suction is used to reliably remove all excretions from the user’s body. To compensate for the absence of gravity, excretions are fed into a centrifuge, where they are accelerated and deposited in a tank via a screw conveyor.
According to Duravit, the geometry of the design and filters guarantees that neither unpleasant odors nor bacteria can escape into the cabin of the spaceship.
The toilet system is self-contained, meaning that the safety of the crew is guaranteed even in the event of a power outage, preventing exposure to a vacuum or similar. Despite its ingenious technology, Duravit’s design comes in well below NASA’s specifications in terms of weight and energy consumption.
“When developing toilets, we pay close attention to reliable flushing performance and good hygiene. As well as functionality and design, we are also always mindful of current issues such as water consumption. On our toilets designed for use on earth, we are naturally assisted by gravity, which causes the excrement to fall automatically into the toilet bowl. One of the biggest challenges in the construction of the Lunar Loo was rethinking everything to ensure that the functionality also worked in a weightless environment,” said Wülker.