Flintstones - Fred and Barney were prone to hammer up a bunch of dust breaking rocks in that pre-industrial mine they inhabited from 9-5 with Mr. Slate looking on with dDisdain. Fred had an organic solution to the debris container problem and it went by the name of Dino (pronounced Deeno). Dino could chew up rock to near-microscopic size, making them well-suited for any sized bag - Baggy or Hefty.
Coronavirus - One way to solve the problem is to change the contents of the bag. Instead of random, rocky bits of orbiting bodies that have little utility, why not use the containers to snatch up coronavirus cells, thereby ridding the planet of this pestilence? The coronavirus cells are small, easy to pack into tight spaces, and lightweight. In other words, perfect for containers that are otherwise prone to flapping open and spewing clouds of dust across the solar system. An who cares if we leave a trail of virus across the solar system - at least the damn thing isn't here.
Every find yourself cramming two loads of laundry in the washing machine because you're too damn lazy to run two loads? And then shoving the result into the dryer, again all-too-small for the bolus you're trying to force down it's throat. Maybe even squeezing a full-grown cat into a cat-carrier that was sized for the critter at a tender age, just so you can get her to the vet? All signs of late-middle aged apathy, or early-onset dementia.
There's a space-aged analogy to this annoying chore. The NASA OSIRIS-REx, which, for undisclosed reasons, was on a mission to collect debris from asteroids apparently arrived at the collection point with a Baggy when a Hefty was called for. The result: the asteroid equivalent of cats meowing in claustrophobic terror. That OSIRIS-REx left a trail of asteroid dust as it hurtled into deep space on it's way back to Earth with the remnants of its precious cargo.
As a man of science, I shouldn't be so flip about a mission to advance our knowledge. But I'm having a hard time getting excited about crushed rock, especially since only a small fraction was lost.
The NASA scientists put the best foot forward, blaming an errant rock for the debris leakage. "We're almost the victim of our own success here," according to Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science. Zurbuchen was evidently implying that the mission resulted in an embarrassment of asteroid riches, but what really happened was a rock got wedged in the container that holds the debris, letting a bunch of the precious dust leak out.
And how come the science person at NASA isn't at least a Deputy Administrator? Promote the guy and maybe you'll get a Hefty in space instead of a Baggy.
Sadly, the asteroid dust will be making space pollution until 2023, when the OSIRIS-REx returns to Earth and its cargo can be examined. Let's hope the strange, belching craft doesn't attract suspicion from space-based weapons as it makes its way through the Earth's atmosphere. What a tragedy to have the craft exterminated a few miles from home after such a rocky mission.
Perhaps this is what happens when you let aeronautical engineers play at mechanical engineering, or perhaps asteroids are just way more prolific than anybody though, but this episode seems What could be done to avoid intragalactic mishaps like this in the future? I gave it some thought and came up with some ideas.