Astronauts want your ideas for getting rid of poop

In space, no one can hear you poop (Getty)
In space, no one can hear you poop (Getty)

If you've got an effective way of getting rid of poop, this is your chance to make a lot of money. The only catch is it has to work in space.

NASA is offering US$30,000 to anyone who can come up with a solution to a serious problem - how to deal with human bodily functions when you're stuck in a spacesuit for a week.

"I can tell you that space flight is not always glamorous," astronaut Rick Mastracchio explains in a video released by NASA.

"People need to go to the bathroom - even in a spacecraft."

Present spacesuits contain a nappy that can absorb up to about 10 hours' worth of bodily functions. But with longer and more dangerous spaceflights planned, NASA needs a system that can allow astronauts to go without a change for up to a week.

"Given enough time, infection and even sepsis can set in. This is the problem we are asking you to help us with," says Mr Mastracchio.

It needs to work hands-free, since astronauts often find themselves in places where they can't open the suit.

"While sealed, it is impossible for an astronaut to access their own body, even to scratch their nose," NASA said in a statement.

The International Space Station uses a vacuum and tube, impractical for use inside a spacesuit.

Designs have to be submitted to NASA by December 20. It plans to test the best ideas next year.