[Watch] Trash From The International Space Station Heading Towards Earth

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While people on Earth may not always appreciate how fortunate they are to have access to municipal services for trash removal, similar services have not yet reached space. It implies that the ISS crews will need to find alternative means of removing the rubbish they gathered during their extended stays at the space outpost.

How ISS remove waste

Samantha Cristoforetti, an ISS resident, recently posted a video on Twitter demonstrating how astronauts on the ISS remove their waste. The procedure is essentially the same as throwing trash out a window, but gravity causes the garbage to land on the ground or in someone’s backyard on Earth. The trash burns up in space as it rushes into our planet’s atmosphere. “Back in July, we tested a new capability for the space station,” Samantha Cristoforetti wrote in her tweet. “Filled with dry trash & foam, this big trash container was jettisoned from a depressurised airlock on the station & it burned up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.”

The rubbish leaving Bishop Airlock can be seen in the video. A different angle is shown in slow motion in another video. The garbage cans in the airlock were created by a company called Nanoracks and can accommodate up to 272 kilogrammes of waste.

Waste collection in space

“Waste collection in space has been a long-standing — yet not as publicly discussed — challenge aboard the ISS,” said Cooper Read, Bishop Airlock program manager at Nanoracks. “Four astronauts can generate up to 5,510 pounds (2,500 kg) of trash per year or about two trash cans per week. As we move into a time with more people living and working in space, this is a critical function just like it is for everyone at home.”

The unwanted items at ISS were previously stored in a departing cargo ship that was then destroyed as it entered Earth’s atmosphere before the Bishop Airlock was deployed, which also comes in handy for commercial customers to deploy payload and move equipment around the exterior of the space outpost. The new approach will allow the ISS workers to remove trash more frequently rather than letting it accumulate for several months.

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Source: Gizbot

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