PETALING JAYA: Young Malaysian inventor Zyson Kang Zy Shun, nine, has made the country proud by bagging first place in NASA’s prestigious Lunar Loo Challenge Junior Category, beating out almost 900 participants from across the globe.
Impressing a panel of judges from NASA, the pupil from SJK (C) Pin Hwa 1, Setia Alam, Klang, stood out among 897 participants from 85 countries, winning the international competition with his “Spacesuit Lunar Toilet”.
Zyson’s invention, which can fit snugly into an astronaut’s spacesuit, does not need electricity or batteries, only requiring mechanical kinetic power.
The “Spacesuit Lunar Toilet” design concept, said the pupil, revolved around convenience.
“It works by applying a manual mechanical kinetic concept to produce a vacuum suction power to crystalise the urine and fecal matter for safe disposal.
“When you move your legs, the urine will flow down into a container in the astronaut’s boots.
“The design does not require any electrical components, hence, minimising the potential of a malfunction in space, ” Zyson told The Star.
Invited to present his design with the NASA team on Oct 28 via a webinar, Zyson wowed the judges with his simple yet effective idea for “number two’s” in space.
Chong Soo Sheong, 43, of I-Discovery World science centre Kuala Lumpur, who has been coaching Zyson, said the boy’s achievement did not happen overnight.
“He has toiled on his design endlessly for months. There was a lot of learning process involved.
“There were many ups and downs, trial and errors as well as learning curves to overcome.
“But I’m glad that his perseverance and continuous learning enabled him to stand out on an international platform,” said Chong.
NASA’s international Lunar Loo Challenge was held to seek new designs for a toilet that will work both in microgravity and lunar gravity for its next lunar mission in 2024.