Waste in Space: Things You Might Not Know

If you think that you can only find wastes in the neighborhood, then you are wrong. You can also find wastes in space. Do you think aliens scattered and dumped those wastes in space? Of course not because it is not really easy to say that aliens are for real. Therefore, human beings are also the ones leaving wastes on the Earth’s surface.

These wastes that human has left in the space are old stuffs, such as satellites and spacecraft; rockets and disintegration, collision or eroded fragments. The wastes vary in size, but what if these fragments or debris are as big as our planet, then how would you dispose it? The wastes of space also decays, but it takes time. And then, what if these wastes fall to Earth? This issue is not a hoax, so the experts concerned will do something to avoid such problems.

Facts about space wastes or debris

Pretty sure that you are aware about how far we are from space. This is the reason why we can’t hold the stars and the moon. So, if there are wastes in the moon, we can’t simply collect them to properly dispose.

Actually, we need to be aware about this because when a collision happens, fragments or debris might fall anywhere on our planet. Anyway, we have here a list of the wastes or debris that are found in space.

  • Spacecraft or Satellites

Scientists and experts from various registered and known organizations from different parts of the world launched spacecraft and satellites in the space. When this gets old or non-operational, they stay in the orbit and can even remain there for centuries. Only time can tell how long they float in space, but sooner or later they will get burn.

Have you heard about the Vanguard 1? The United States launched this satellite in 1958. It was said that it will take 240 years for this satellite to stay in the orbit. This is actually the oldest among all the space objects that ever survived and still in the Earth’s orbit.

  • Equipment

There is also equipment in the space that got lost. Do you that a glove was even found in the space? Ed White, who is an astronaut owns this lost glove. A camera was also found, which is a property of Michael Collins. Another found object is a thermal blanket from the STS-88. There are even garbage bags found from the cosmonauts of Soviet. Believe it or not, even a toothbrush, pliers and a wrench were even found in the space.

  • Booster or Rockets

When rockets are launched, an upper stage of the rocket breaks and creates various effects in the space, resulting in debris formation. For example, the Long March 4 CBERS-1 from China launched in 2000 created a cloud of debris after the explosion on the upper stage. Another booster exploded in 2007, which is from the Briz-M of Russia.

Different boosters and rockets were launched from time to time. A part of the usual process is the separation of the upper and lower layer. But, explosions and malfunctions happen. Therefore, they caused debris and waste in the space.

  • Weapon

Various organizations and establishments from different countries launched anti-satellite weapons or ASATs. The testing has left debris in the space, so this activity was ended. But, it was later on restarted. Due to this testing in 1985, a satellite was even destroyed. The government of China was even condemned because of the military implications and the huge amount of waste and debris from the anti-satellite missile test in 2007. A spy satellite was even destroyed in 2008 due to the SM-3 missile launched by the United States.

The Dangers of Asbestos Waste

Asbestos minerals are composed of six different types of occurring minerals. Composed of durable fibers that are heat, fire and chemical resistant, it enters the body through breathing. What most of us don’t know is that asbestos minerals are not harmful unless it releases fibers in the air where we ingest or inhaled it.

asbestos fibers

For instance, asbestos-containing floor tiles, cabinet tops or fire door will not release harmful fibers into the air unless they become damaged or deteriorated. Physical impacts such as drilling, sawing, grinding, striking, cutting or hammering them may release the fibers.

The asbestos could also be disturbed due to natural disasters like tornadoes, flood or hurricanes. Hence, it is crucial that the first responders in times like this know how to handle asbestos materials to reduce the spreading of the fiber.

Health Effects and Hazards

Perhaps you have heard the term “friable”; it is when the asbestos is most hazardous. It is when it’s easily crumbled by hand that releases fiber in the air.

Once the asbestos fiber entered the body, some of it will stay in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose, and some may pass deep into lungs or digestive tract if swallowed. It is when the problem occurs. Too much exposure to it can lead to lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Asbestos is widely used in many homes and establishments until 1980. Flooring, insulation, siding, shingles and ceiling tiles of old houses and building are most likely to contain asbestos minerals. Thus, if there are demolitions or home renovations near you, make sure that professional workers handle it and not just by the homeowner to prevent health hazards.

Proper Disposal of Asbestos Waste

Whatever asbestos waste it is, make sure to deal with it with great care. If your home or building was built in the 1980s, its attic insulation or piping insulation might contain asbestos materials.

While asbestos does not instantly introduce itself as a health hazard, once it gets disturbed or damaged, it poses a great risk to people’s safety and health as its fibers tend to flaked off and become airborne. It can be transferred from one place to another as it tends to lingers on clothing items and shoes.

In case of asbestos emergency, follow the tips below.

  • Wear disposable clothing and gloves before having an immediate contact with the asbestos material.
  • If you have to remove an asbestos material, wet first the product or item with water, placed it in a garbage bag and completely seal it. Label it so that it won’t get mixed with other trash bags.
  • Do not dispose it anywhere but only to the designated landfill for asbestos-containing materials.
  • Most importantly, contact local authorities to ask for instructions on what is best to do with this type of waste.

For major renovation or demolition project, we highly suggest that you consult an expert to perform accredited testing for asbestos. They would make recommendations for safe containment and disposal of the affected materials and monitor the proper removal of asbestos waste.