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Astronauts find a solution to cleaning debris in space station

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Published on : Jun 24, 2014

Managing debris on a space station is a tedious and risky job. To control and clean the debris extreme caution is required; as microgravity can turn gasses, fluids, dust, and sharp objects into a floating hazard. However, a team of researchers have come up with a solution to this problem.

To solve this tricky issue a special container known as glovebox or ‘Microgravity Science Glovebox’ (MSG) is used. This container was trialled on-board the ISS (International Space Station).

However, one problem experienced with this device was how to clean the device itself. According to NASA, a solution has been developed. This concept was designed and made by Huntsville’s Teledyne Brown Engineering. The system for decontamination was designed by keeping the safety of crew members in mind. Hence, high powered, ultraviolet light-emitting diodes were used to sanitize various surfaces inside the glovebox. As UV light is at enough short wavelengths and is effective to kill various germs.

The glovebox has been used by astronauts to carry out hundreds of studies within an area that was sealed, negative pressured and nine-cubic-foot in size. It has also been used for a various microgravity research in the fields of fluid physics, material science, combustion science, fundamental physics, biotechnology, and others. It has helped researchers to search and understand the role of gravity in basic chemical and physical interactions.

This amount of precise work needs a thorough approach to cleaning and disinfecting to prevent any contamination. Because, infection can cause harm to the health of astronauts or ruin experiments.

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