Pollution is no longer a problem just on Earth. Though humans have only visited the moon 12 times, there is already over 400,000 pounds of trash on its surface.
As Gizmodo reports, most of the debris is from spaceships and landing crafts. Discarding equipment, rather than taking it back to Earth, improves the likelihood that astronauts will return safely.
Each moon landing leaves behind a whopping 22,700-pound Lunar Lander. As the video below explains, it is not uncommon for astronauts to bring — and leave — junk on the moon, as well. There are golf balls, two-dollar bills, and more on the moon’s surface — not to mention a giant bag of human waste which will someday have to be cleaned up.
Sometimes, space waste floating around Earth also makes its way to the moon. As Inhabitat notes, over 21,000 pieces of trash — from spacecraft fragments to disabled satellites — presently orbit the Earth. Sometimes, the structures crash into each other. This has happened at least 70 times. If the debris leaves Earth’s orbit, it can make its way to the moon or even deep space.
Sometimes, things are left behind purposefully. A small aluminum memorial was left by the crew of Apollo 15 to honor fallen astronauts. To this day, it stands on the still lunar landscape. Reportedly, the feature dropped in Apollo 15’s “hammer-feather” drop experiment also remains. The Apollo 1 mission never made it to the moon, as it was shut down early after three astronauts were killed during a training exercise. However, a patch from the unlaunched mission has made its way to our orbiting moon.
Watch the video below to learn more:
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