Tue, Nov 21, 2006
Sometimes, Littering IS The Way To Go
This seems an odd reversal of NASA
policy... after years of debate over how to best dispose of
unwanted detrius from the International Space Station, the agency
has come up with the answer: open the door and throw it out.
If that sounds like a somewhat... inelegant... solution to the
problem, you're right. That's why NASA says it only endorses the
practice in certain cases.
For example, the agency will now recommend astronauts onboard
the ISS toss out ammonia tanks when they've run dry, as they can't
be safely brought back to Earth.
"We are only going to be doing it in rare cases under very
strict conditions, and doing it because of the safety of the crew
and the station," Nicholas Johnson, chief scientist for NASA's
orbital debris program, told the London Daily Telegraph.
The hope is the debris will later burn up in the Earth's
atmosphere... and not stay in orbit with other assorted debris and
"space junk," where it could pose a danger to the station and other
Hmm... would it help if astronauts tossed their garbage towards
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