Wastes are everywhere. Apparently, the heavens are no longer perfect, as opposed to what many would like to think. Debris of dead satellites, pieces of old rockets and other spacecrafts, fecal wastes, associated tissues and many more other items litter the space. Experts estimate that the earth’s orbit contains more than 10 million pieces of debris.
You should note these unneeded objects can never be transported back to the earth’s surface for disposal. This is what brought forth waste management in outer space.
Waste Management in Outer Space
To begin with, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration boasts of a waste collection system, which is an integrated, multi-functional system designed to collect and process wastes in a zero-gravity environment. It works through a series of process that ensures the space debris are well taken care of.
In 2008, the UN general assembly adopted a resolution which endorsed the Guidelines on Space Debris Mitigation provided by the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. They outline mitigation of space debris, in addition to planning, designing, manufacturing and operational phases of spacecraft bodies. This was actually fueled by the need to preserve the outer space.
Another innovative way to take of space waste management was developed by Vaios Lappas who designed a system that gets rid of satellites from the orbit soon as their useful life is over. In addition, the system has immense potential to scour part of the sky clean in the process. Simply put, it’s one method of rubbish removal that can effectively clear space junk and sweep the skies clean.
Body fluids and wastes
While in space, weightlessness is something that can’t be easily avoided. Normally, gravity affects the movement of wastes when one is in a toilet.
Today, for instance, astronauts use flushing toilets which actually flush the wastes with air into storage tanks where a series of chemical process take place before the waste is released in order for it be free from harm.
On the other hand, solid waste normally goes into a container exposed to the vacuum of space where it’s completely dried out and taken back to earth for disposal. Professional cleaners might be green with envy at a vacuum cleaner so vast, magnificent and efficient.
This is normally made possible through the use of a space toilet. Some call it zero gravity toilet.
Moreover, international space stations carry with them miniature treatment plant on board, which is a system that ensures proper disposal and treatment of human waste and fluids.
So many activities take place in space. But thanks to scientists. You can have access to great information and other contents ideal for waste management in Outer space. In view of all the aforementioned, I believe there’s hope and a bright future for waste management not only in space but even to the entire universe.