It seems now that space debris considerations have entered the daily agenda of most space agencies worldwide, other environmental issues are slowly following. As noticed appreciatively by many “green” writers in the past weeks, NASA has embarked on a project that should develop a way to utilize garbage produced by astronauts in space.
Researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center are currently testing special tiles made from garbage such as plastic bottles, old clothes, duct tape, and foil drink pouches that might be used in the future to add, for example, radiation shielding. Nowadays, most of the trash produced at the International Space Station is simply loaded into automated transfer vehicles and left to burn during re-entry. Such a strategy would be impossible once a long-haul mission, such as to Mars or an asteroid, is considered.