June 18, 2024

astronauts left bags of droppings on the moon’s surface; Why we should be looking – 11/30/2021

3 min read
astronauts left bags of droppings on the moon's surface;  Why we should be looking - 11/30/2021

Between 1969 and 1972, a NASA (US space agency) made six Manned missions to the moon. During these flights, astronauts left 96 bags of human waste (faeces, urine and vomit) on the moon’s surface. Yes, we leave the trash behind.

NASA scientists are studying the possibility of collecting this garbage in the upcoming lunar mission, and this is not an environmental issue. The goal is to see if there’s something alive inside of it – calm down, we’re talking about fungi and bacteria.

The next mission on the moon is expected in 2024, when another man and the first woman will step there, on Project Artemis. There is still a lot of preparation, and that includes, Research projects to develop an effective bathroom.

Trash bags left behind

The first thing to understand about the existence of these trash bags is knowing that astronauts on the Apollo missions had to defecate and urinate inside the spacecraft in the two complexes. In other words, there was no bathroom like the ones in the house and those on more recent space missions.

They had a stool bag and a urine complex. When they were off the ship, the solution was to wear some kind of space diaper.

In an interview with Vox, a few years ago, Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke confirmed the abandoned dumpster.

“We left the urine collected in a tank. And I think we had some bowel movements – but I’m not sure. And that was in some garbage bags. We took some garbage bags and threw them on the moon.”

This garbage produced during the days of the voyage represents an additional and unnecessary burden on the ship on the journey back to Earth. As in all missions, astronauts collected lunar materials, such as rocks and dust, for later analysis. So it was important to leave as much weight as possible behind.

What can you leave life?

Half of the dry matter in stool is made up of bacteriaThere are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of microbial life out there (in addition to bacteria, fungi, and viruses).

Studying whether this material, which was left on the moon fifty years ago, could help understand the extreme conditions in which life can survive.

The Moon does not have an atmosphere like Earth, so the sacks that remain there are exposed to strong solar radiation and still experience extremes of temperatures between -170°C and 100°C.

Astrobiologist Andrew Schwerger, of the University of Florida, is one of the researchers interested in the bags left over the moon. In 2019, he and other colleagues published Article – Commodity “A Microbial Survival Model on the Moon for Predicting the Gradual Pollution of the Moon.”

Schwerger told Vox that it was very likely that nothing would survive. However, these space bags do provide some protection for biological materials.

Therefore, the astrobiologist believes that within them “there is a greater possibility.” [de vida] Inside all that’s left on the moon.”

At the time, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to set foot on the moon, responded to the Vox article on Twitter and commented that he regretted whoever found his bag.

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