Astronauts empty the trash This photo taken from NASA TV shows a close up of a capsule loaded with 1.5 tons of trash released from the International Space Station on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. (NASA via AP)
Astronauts empty the trash
Lexile

The International Space Station just got a whole lot tidier after a pair of NASA astronauts released a capsule loaded with 1.5 tons of trash as the station soared over Bolivia. The capsule was expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific on Feb. 20.
 
NASA supplier Orbital ATK launched the capsule to the space station in December. It was full of food, clothes and other goods. The astronauts removed the precious contents. Then they filled it with garbage and old equipment for incineration.
 
Commander Scott Kelly and Timothy Kopra, the Americans on board, sent computer commands to set the Cygnus free. The stunning 250-mile-high view showed the capsule slowly backing away and its two circular solar wings looked like open umbrellas.
 
Kelly, who's less than two weeks from wrapping up an unprecedented yearlong mission for NASA, thanked everyone who worked on the Cygnus.
 
"It's been a pleasure," he noted.
 
"A beautiful release," replied Mission Control.
 
Virginia-based Orbital ATK plans to launch another Cygnus with more supplies from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in late March. The flight was delayed a few weeks. That was after black mold contaminated some of the cargo bags. Technicians had to disinfect everything.
 
SpaceX, meanwhile, another commercial cargo carrier for NASA, is aiming to make a delivery in the next few months. The company is working to get back on track following a launch accident last summer.
 
NASA has handed off space station shipments to private business so it can focus on getting astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, namely to Mars. It hopes to do the same with space station crews next year. For now, U.S. astronauts are hitching rides with the Russians.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why doesn't dumping the trash create pollution?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (60)
  • audreyv-4-bar
    2/25/2016 - 07:24 p.m.

    Dumping the trash doesn't create pollution, because "it was expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific on Feb. 20." If the trash burns up, then no pollution will be present.

    I found this article very interesting to hear how scientists are trying to use space and science as a way to get rid of trash.

  • grantm-2-bar
    2/25/2016 - 07:37 p.m.

    Dumping trash in space doesn't create pollution because it burns up in earth's atmosphere. Nasa put 1.5 tons of trash in a capsule. When they let go of the capsule it was aimed towards the Pacific ocean. It just incinerated in earth's atmosphere because it had no heat protection. This is why dumping trash in space doesn't create pollution.

  • seans-2-bar
    2/25/2016 - 09:51 p.m.

    The International Space Station is in space, the dumping of trash from the International Space Station does not necessarily create pollution for us on earth. The worst this could do is create space debris. Which the Astronauts avoided by heaping the trash load on to a space capsule, which is expected to disintegrate within the atmosphere. Causing no pollution whatsoever. I recommend updating the content to avoid obnoxious questions like these. The caption referred to space which therefore caught my attention, however this inquiry is not worthy of my answer.

  • aidanp-1-bar
    2/25/2016 - 10:10 p.m.

    Dumping the trash doesn't create pollution because the atmosphere is to dense. Even though the atmosphere is air, it is much denser than all other planets in our solar system (except Venus). The spaceship doesn't have enough mass to fall through the atmosphere without fully burning up.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    2/25/2016 - 10:18 p.m.

    Dumping trash does not create pollution because there is no gravity in space and the trash, after being dumped, will just float around. The article says, "The capsule was expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific on Feb. 20." This shows that the trash will not cause any harm to the Earth and the astronauts knew that. I was interested in this article because I love to learn about space. I was not surprised by this article because people go to great lengths to get rid of trash.

  • noahf-3-bar
    2/26/2016 - 12:55 a.m.

    Dumping garbage into space does not create pollution because once it reenters the atmosphere it immediately burns up over the pacific ocean insuring no trash ever pollutes the earth.

    I found this article interesting because I have never thought about how astronauts actually got rid of their trash, but I have learned that they just get rid of it by tossing it into space.

  • justiny-2-bar
    2/26/2016 - 09:26 a.m.

    The dumping of the trash creates pollution because it will be landing in the Pacific ocean and there the trash from the capsule could pollute the water and when it burns on its decent into Earth it will create air pollution. I found it interesting that the space station just drops the trash back down to Earth. I found it interesting that the trash weighed 1.5 tons.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    2/26/2016 - 10:14 a.m.

    After shipping food and precious materials to the space station, the astronauts loaded the capsule with their trash, because were else would it go. They let go of the capsule and it fell into the atmosphere.It caused no pollution because it burned up safely. "The capsule was expected to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up harmlessly over the Pacific on Feb. 20." I thought this was cool because its a harmless way to get rid of trash even though its probably really expensive.

  • victoriak-ver
    2/26/2016 - 02:51 p.m.

    Dumping the trash doesn't create pollution because the way the garbage it being disposed, astronauts are dumping the trash out in space, and the atmosphere will incinerate all of the trash.

  • brycec-ver
    2/26/2016 - 05:10 p.m.

    This article really interested me because I like science and space a lot. It is really cool how the trash just burns up in the atmosphere.

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