Duravit’s Franziska Wülker has been awarded third place in NASA’s contest to design an optimised space toilet. With a prize of $35,000 for the three best designs, the competition was created for the Artemis programme that aims to send male and female astronauts to the moon in 2024.
Selected from a pool of 20,000 entries, development engineer Wülker is the sole female non-American individual who achieved a top-three position.
The Duravit toilet is said to be comfortable to use in space due to its optimised sitting geometry, and suction is used to remove all excretion from the user’s body. Due to the absence of gravity, the waste is fed into a centrifuge, where it is accelerated and deposited in a tank.
The design specifications are far below NASA’s requirements in terms of weight and energy consumption. Filters prevent unpleasant odours or bacteria escaping into the cabin of the spaceship. The toilet system itself 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.
"When developing toilets, we pay close attention to reliable flushing performance and good hygiene. 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.
“We are extremely proud that Franziska Wülker was able to conceive and complete such an ingenious project alongside her regular work,” said Thomas Stammel, CTO at Duravit AG. “The third place award is a considerable achievement and is testament to our expertise in the field of toilet technology”.