April 23, 2019 | 9:55 PM IST
science

NASA to send spacecraft to Moon to collect poop, other waste left by previous astronauts

NASA is now planning to send a spacecraft to Moon to bring back the urine, poop and other waste of astronauts who have been visiting the planet and bringing back valuable scientific information, lunar rocks and soil, says reports coming in.

Humans first set foot on Moon in July 20, 1969 and since then NASA has sent six Apollo missions to six different locations on the Moon and 12 astronauts have landed on the surface and leaving around 96 white jettisoned trash bags (jett bags) till date. Though the astronauts were provided with absorbent diaper-like garments, but they had to leave things like cameras, spacecraft parts, tools and some disposable items behind to avoid carrying the extra weight risk in the spacecraft on their way back home.

The reports add that these bags are of particular interest to scientists who wish to know if life can endure the extreme conditions on the moon. Even if all microbes are dead, it would still provide great insight about space life, including possibilities of planting seeds of life on a lifeless planet and probably even the origin of life on Earth.

Margaret Race, a biologist at the SETI Institute, points to the fact that microbes have been found alive and kicking at the bottom of the ocean near thermal vents and 2 miles below a Greenland glacier. That’s enough hope that NASA assigned scientist Mark Lupisella to help plan a future mission to retrieve the jett bags and study them. He’s hoping that the bags didn’t explode in the extreme heat.

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