Apparently, waste is not only an earth-based problem as NASA is also trying to figure out how to deal with waste produced in space and how to recycle these into new parts. The scientists at NASA are plotting a closed-loop system for all manner of space-generated waste to be reused in several interesting ways.
NASA’s scientists from Ames Research center located in California have sought to address this problem by using a trash compactor that melts waste without incinerating it. This could therefore convert the waste generated in a day into a tile 8 inches in diameter which could possibly be used as a radiation shield in and around the spacecraft.
A NASA report suggested that their mission planners and astronauts take waste very seriously as there is the risk of the already limited space of the spacecraft being overrun with waste. They also give the reason that since resources are already limited for say, a trip to Mars which could take about two years, the crew cannot simply resort to flushing waste into space as it could result in contamination of “other worlds”, which NASA policy frowns upon.
Presently, the scientists are trying to find out if these tiles produced from the waste would be totally sterile since it would be detrimental to have bacteria-contaminated tiles furnishing the spacecraft. They are also investigating the possibility of being able to siphon some water from the trash to be used as drinking water since, in space, water is extremely difficult to obtain.