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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology > [A] Environmental Debate
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Mike
Here it comes. The first of my completely off-the-wall solutions to our nation's problems.

We as Americans are quite skilled in producing items that never go away. We have single-use diapers that last 300 years. We put our trash in bags that sit for hundreds of years in landfills.

Well, we need to find a new place to put our trash, and I think I have the solution.

I am proposing this in all seriousness.

Why don't we ship our trash to the sun?

Seriously, it's a huge, free incinerator. It's as hot as... well... the sun.

We could bombard it with trash 24-7 and I don't think it would notice. The trash wouldn't even make it there. It would burn up well before it even reached the sun.

Of course, I realize that this is not 100% feasible right now, mainly due to the high cost of sending anything to space, let alone dirty diapers.

But other than that, what is the problem with my thinking?

Are we going to pollute space? Yeah. But will we notice? Nope.

Less people travel to the portion of the sun where the trash would be burned then to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And I don't foresee any point in the future where people will travel there.

Needless to say, I'm interested in your response(s).

Mike
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Jaime
I've searched around online for a solution similar to yours, Mike. I think you have an original on your hands. Unless you count the Russians, who are sending up Lance Bass tongue.gif I don't think they're going to the sun, though... wink.gif

You should write to NASA for this one. They always claim they're underfunded and this will be a great revenue source.
JohnProia
QUOTE(Jaime @ Aug 21 2002, 12:08 AM)
I've searched around online for a solution similar to yours, Mike.  I think you have an original on your hands.  Unless you count the Russians, who are sending up Lance Bass  tongue.gif .

Ouch. I've heard the 'trash on rockets' idea before. The only problem is guaranteeing the overweight rocket can leave Earth's atmosphere and go far enough so as to not reenter our orbit.
drmarcs
I think Mike has been watching Superman IV too many times. (they through all the nuclear missiles into the sun) But I going to say that this is not a good idea. For this reason:

The first law of thermodynamics (or whatever law it is) says that energy can not be created or destroyed, as well as matter, they can only be converted between the two stages. A nuclear explosion is the changing from matter to energy, and a particle accelerator is from energy to matter. If we toss all or crap and trash into the sun our planet will become less and less dense (granted by only a microscopic amount). Also the areas of landfill become valuable real estate when the landfill is full. It also provides for a great source of fertilizers, natural resources once again returned to the land, and a possible alternate fuel source (methane).

Land fills are ugly and they stink, but they are important, Battery park in Manhattan was build on a landfill, 3Com park in San Francisco the same.
Mike
Allright, time to respond to this one.

QUOTE(drmarcs @ Aug 21 2002, 11:30 AM)
If we toss all or crap and trash into the sun our planet will become less and less dense (granted by only a microscopic amount).


But you're failing to realize that every day, the sun bombards the earth with solar particles. These particles enter our atmosphere and burn up.

As do meteors.

So they enter as matter, and are immediately converted to energy. Which through your logic will at some point be converted back to matter.

And asteroids certainly add direct mass to the planet.

Add this to the fact that we have 2785 satellites, 95 space probes, and 6163 pieces of earth-originated debris orbiting the planet. And this doesn't account for planetary exploration, universal exploration, and items lost from orbit. The lack of mass arguement quickly loses weight (bad pun, I know.).

QUOTE
Also the areas of landfill become valuable real estate when the landfill is full. It also provides for a great source of fertilizers, natural resources once again returned to the land, and a possible alternate fuel source (methane).


Some areas do become valuable real estate. However, this is outside the norm. "Converted" landfill only gets developed out of necessity, and only where property values are astronomical.

The amount of methane released from a medium sized landfill is minimal at best. I read an article where a school struck an agreement with a landfill to purchase all released methane. They used it to supplement their energy usage, not replace it.

QUOTE(JohnProia @ Aug 21 2002, 11:02 AM)
The only problem is guaranteeing the overweight rocket can leave Earth's atmosphere and go far enough so as to not reenter our orbit.


We've nearly perfected this. The beauty of it is that if it does not make it, there are 3 possibilities:
1. It explodes upon takeoff, effectively creating an "accidental incinerator".
2. It explodes while still within the earth's atmosphere, dumping what doesn't incinerate into the ocean. No problem there. We, and plenty of other nations, already dump raw trash into the ocean.
3. It makes it out of the atmosphere and gets stuck in our orbit. Two options here. Either shoot it back towards earth so it can burn up, or send it out towards the sun.

Mike
drmarcs
I dont know how many people have seen the grand canyon, but that looks like a great land fill.....jk

while i like the idea of shooting trash into the sun, i do feel that most of that stuff can be used here for something else... (not that i care about recycling)

Candlestick park in san Francisco (3Com park) is on a landfill, so is Joe Torry Stadium in NY, and Battery Park in New York.
JohnProia
Ok, I've got it: we take several thousands space ships, gut the insides to minimum weight, and fill em'. Each ship has the capacity for, hmm, several MILLION tons of waste. Fire it out towards Jupiter and have some nukes on board ready to detonate. Sweeeeeeeettttttttt.
Jaime
JP- you missed Mike's point. We don't need nukes, nor do we need to send the trash to Jupiter. The sun IS a nuke, send trash there and save the earth.
JohnProia
Jaime, I realized Mike's point, but I am saying that we cannot be too careful w/ the sun. We might as well put our nuclear weapons to good use. Or just let India and Pakistan blow each other off the map and send the trash there. laugh.gif
otseng
My guess is that the cost/benefit ratio cannot justify it.

How much would it cost to send a rocket filled with trash? Probably millions.

How much does it cost for that same amount of trash in a local dump? Much less.

Unless they can develop a technology to lower the cost of sending our trash to the moon. Perhaps put trash in container in a giant gun and shoot them into the sun.
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ScreeminDeemin
throw it into the sun, all that is, is a sea of nuclear waste. get a cannon and shoot drums of waste in the nevada flats off this planet. heh

LOL i didnt read any posts bfore i said this.
JohnProia
Wait, let us send the trash to the largest trash bin in ALL of the universe: Palestine. Sorry, but I had to make a cheap and "trashy" joke.

GET IT, TRASHY JOKE?!
Jaime
Um, SD- why would you post in a topic when you hadn't read the previous posts? That is an odd way to converse. blink.gif
ScreeminDeemin
i suppose that is pretty odd, i read the first post and immediatly knew what i was going to say. it was like 4 AM and i was just catching up spreading my opinion on all the forums seeing as it was my first time.
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