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What is lunar litter?

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    25th Apr, 2022

Context:

The moon has a lot of man-made junk on it.

About

  • For the past half-century, the Moon has been the destination of some of humankind’s most monumental and challenging expeditions.
  • As the Moon becomes more accessible to both national space programs and private enterprise, it is important that we protect lunar artifacts for both their historic and scientific value.
  • It's challenging to say, but the trash on the moon likely weighs upward of 400,000 lbs. (181,000 kilograms) on Earth. 
  • Much of this moon litter was left by NASA astronauts who landed on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972 during the Apollo program.
  • The other rubbish comes from crewless missions from space-exploring agencies, including those from the United States, Russia, Japan, India and Europe.
  • Many of the older pieces are lunar probes that were sent to the moon to learn about it, such as whether spaceships could land on its surface.
  • In the 1960s, some scientists thought that the moon might have a quicksand-like exterior because so many space rocks had pummeled and pulverized it over the years.
  • These robotic probes, which stayed on the moon after their missions ended, showed that this idea was wrong, and that human-made gear could land on the moon's surface.
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