News Releases

Joshua Buck
Headquarters, Washington
March 30, 2012
RELEASE : 12-090
NASA, Partners Solicit Creative Waste-Management Solutions
NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department and Nike today announced a challenge to identify 10 game-changing innovations that could transform waste-management systems and practices. Waste management is important for planning long-duration human spaceflight missions to an asteroid, Mars or beyond.

Humans living off the planet require waste solutions that mirror issues facing people on Earth. In the hostile environment of space, waste must be eliminated or transformed in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The innovations, which will be presented at the LAUNCH: Beyond Waste forum, may lead to practical applications for astronauts as we send humans deeper into our solar system.

The challenge will be open April 1-May 15 and will seek creative solutions to minimize waste or transform it into new products in space and on Earth. Forum partners will select 10 innovators to present their technology solutions at the LAUNCH: Beyond Waste forum, hosted by NASA July 20-22, at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

NASA and the LAUNCH Council -- thought leaders representing a diverse and collaborative body of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, government, media and business -- will participate in the forum and help guide these innovations forward. The selected LAUNCH innovators will receive networking and mentoring opportunities from influential business and government leaders, as well as portfolio presentations.

Previous LAUNCH forums have focused on water, health and energy. These forums resulted in innovations, including technology that enables irrigation using brackish, saline and polluted water; a biodegradable needle that can deliver vaccines or medicine under the skin using a pressure device; a tiny holographic microscope attached to a cell phone that can detect parasites and bacteria in blood and water in remote locations; a handheld lab-in-a-box that diagnoses a variety of diseases in a matter of minutes; a modular, flexible smart-grid distribution technology to provide access to power for those in need; and a simple, affordable fuel cell that converts biomass directly to electricity.

LAUNCH was created to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global sustainability challenges. LAUNCH searches for visionaries whose ideas, technologies or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on society in the developed and developing worlds.

For more information about LAUNCH: Beyond Waste and how to enter the challenge, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


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