(via Space Scan)
Unable to house some materials aboard the space station due to safety concerns, NASA is considering dumping them out into space as an alternative method of disposal.
(The Sydney Morning Herald) Officials say that certain objects aboard the space station – such as a worn-out ammonia tank – cannot be carried safely 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,” said Nicholas Johnson, the chief scientist for NASA’s orbital debris program.
Most discarded items will burn up in the atmosphere. But until they do they pose an extra headache for NASA, already tracking 13,000 of the largest items to ensure they do not hit the space station.
While some may cry we are polluting our “spacial skies,” we must remember that in space their are no solar dump trucks available to transport broken machinery, space junk, etc. from the international space station to planet earth.
NASA should probably consider creating “roaming satellite” whose job is to collect space junk and then perform a kamikaze dive towards the Earth’s atmosphere as a way to resolve the space junk issue (as there are enough hazardous objects orbiting around planet earth).