Posted by Elizabeth Han on Apr 17, 2012
The space shuttle Discovery may be taking its last flight today (to a museum), but NASA is ever looking forward to the next steps in universal exploration. Oddly (to some), their mission falls right in step with ours: finding innovative technologies and deployment models for sustainable development.
Hence the genesis of the LAUNCH: Beyond Waste Challenge.
The goal of the LAUNCH: Beyond Waste Challenge is to identify “game changing” innovations that have the potential to transform the current waste management systems and practices to ones focused on minimizing waste and/or transforming waste into new products.
"Launching anything is a matter of overcoming inertia. This holds true for ideas as well," LAUNCH.org reminds us.
LAUNCH invites proposals for innovative design for zero waste solutions, waste elimination, waste transformation, and waste mitigation technologies, as well as waste reduction-focused education, business, and financial strategies that have the potential to reduce and/or eliminate waste at a household, community, office building, campus, or industrial level.
Waste is the fourth LAUNCH forum, following Water, Health and Energy.
"We need to figure out a better way to use this material as feedstock, rather than excess. We need to design closed-loop systems with a goal of zero waste for long-duration space missions," explains LAUNCH: Water Innovator (and Astronaut) Ron Garan via the White House.
"The life support systems that sustain our astronauts aboard the [International Space Station] are the same as those that support inhabitants of the amazing spacecraft we are all riding on together through the universe: Earth."
Unlike architecture on Mars, a wasteless future is certainly achievable in our lifetime. Will your ideas catalyze this shift? Can they enter "the orbit of global discourse?"
Proposals are being accepted through May 15. Apply at challenge.launch.org