Innocentive is the crowdsourced wiki where companies throw up patents, business problems and technical issues that you can wile away a weekend solving, such as “Synthesis of a Nucleotide-Selective Label for Single-Stranded DNA” and other fun projects for the whole family.  I kinda liked this one: NASA are wanting you, the great unwashed,  to help them do their dirty washing.

NASA Challenge: Simple Microgravity Laundry System
Reward: $25,000 USD Type: Theoretical-IP Transfer INNOCENTIVE 9454098

This Challenge Seeks a new approach to cleaning fabrics of all sorts (towels, clothing, socks, under garments, etc) in space. Though the design of an entire flight ready laundry machine for space is beyond the scope of this Challenge. The objective is to design key subassemblies of a new system that would be effective within the unique constraints of a space vehicle operating in micro-gravity. Additional detail and pictures can be found within the Challenge.

This is a Theoretical Challenge, which requires a written proposal with diagrams and calculations only. The Solver will propose a laundry system that meets the requirements and justify it with a detailed description and relevant references.

I dunno what the fuss is about – when travelling, I usually wash my undies in sinks with those little bottles of shampoos you get in hotels. Can’t they do the same?

And what about the ironing?  BTW I would put a photo up of Gazza doing the washing & ironing…  if I had one… …. …