How Are Spaceships Decontaminated?


Spaceships are made germ-free by various methods: heat, chemicals, radiation and plasma, the last of which is the most preferred. The equipment is assembled in a clean room. all this is done for planetary protection.

Whether it’s sending humans to the moon, reloading a space station, launching satellites into Earth orbit, or simply exploring the solar system, our encounter with space shows no signs of stopping. one of humanity’s big picture missions for space travel is the search for extraterrestrial life; NASA He is doing his best to find an answer.

To satisfy this curiosity, it is important that the spaceships sent to the universe are germ-free. why? because we have a duty to protect the planet and planets must be protected from other planetary life. If a flesh-eating microbe from Jupiter makes a journey to Earth in a returning spaceship, try to imagine the consequences!

This is why scientists do their best to make sure their spaceships are germ-free. The real question is… how do they achieve this?

How are spaceships sterilized?

heat

In the early days of space travel, spacecraft parts were heated in scorching temperatures of 110-200°C in dry ovens with controlled humidity levels. they were also kept in hot air ovens for days to ensure maximum sterilization. In 1975, this method was sent to Mars. viking used to sterilize landing gear. however, heat sterilization is not always an option.

radiation

First of all, spaceship assembly is challenging. Complex electronics that heat sterilize, such as sensitive temperature sensors, will destroy the part. alternative approach, ultraviolet (uv) or gamma uses radiation. Spaceship parts and equipment are exposed to these high-powered rays that damage the DNA of microbes and kill them. As an extra precaution, the merged parts also get 70% to kill survivors. alcohol or hydrogen peroxide is deleted with

However, these chemicals may not be used on spacecraft parts or equipment. epoxy It cannot be used everywhere as it may damage or damage silver coatings. that is, heat, radiation, and chemicals are all used to keep spaceships and equipment germ-free, but that’s not the end of the measures. Spaceships are also assembled in clean rooms that must meet federal standards.

Despite all these predictions, these methods are not perfect. some bacteria are adaptable and heat resistant, such as bacillus species. bacillus spores are also very tough and can withstand exposure to high temperatures, pressure and radiation. They can survive for several minutes at high temperatures. The use of chemicals is also not 100% effective. Also, due to our new and physically sensitive modern technological instruments, complete sterilization is not possible with the above methods.

Despite all these predictions, these methods are not perfect. some bacteria can adapt and bacillus as heat resistant.

bacillus Its spores are also very tough and can withstand exposure to high temperatures, pressure and radiation. They can survive for several minutes at high temperatures. The use of chemicals is also not 100% effective. Also, due to our new and physically sensitive modern technological instruments, complete sterilization is not possible with the above methods.

What is the alternative safer method? plasma sterilization.

What is plasma sterilization?

You may know plasma as the 4th state of matter. Plasma is essentially charged or ionized gas. Examples of natural plasma include lightning during a storm and the northern lights. Plasma is made by energizing gas molecules until their electrons leave the nuclear orbital. As these electrons release their energy, the bright characteristic plasma color is seen.

This sterilization technology was first johnson & johnson It was invented to sterilize moisture and heat sensitive medical equipment. to make plasma nitric acid or hydrogen peroxide A chamber with electrodes containing reactive chemicals such as an electric current passes through the chemical and vaporizes it. Gas molecules produced, such as o³ molecules, are ionized. The charged gas molecules bombard the microbes and disrupt their biological processes and damage their DNA, essentially killing them.

Plasma excels other sterilization methods in several ways. Gases can be charged using electric currents at temperatures as low as 40 °C. this makes it safer to use on heat sensitive materials and equipment.

it also prevents direct chemical contact with equipment, so it is safer to use on different spaceship materials. Plasma sterilization also has a higher sterilization efficiency than heat or radiation sterilization. It even kills heat-resistant bacterial spores.

Why is it important to keep spacecraft germ-free?

The term planetary protection is mentioned at the beginning of the article. it is an internationally accepted practice to protect other planets and solar system bodies from earth life. it works either way, because Earth also needs to be protected from potential alien life forms from outer space.

This is where planetary protection comes in. Let’s say another roaming alien lands on Mars in search of life. however, the ship was not properly sterilized and was carrying a strain of bacteria from Earth to Mars. As soon as the rover lands on mars and orbits the red planet, earth bacteria from the rover will land on the planet. At this point, it can mutate and adapt to the Martian environment.

Bacteria mutate rapidly in space, so it’s theoretically possible that the duration of the space mission will be long enough to „discover“ and misunderstand Earth bacteria with a Martian variety.

In addition, bacteria not only mutate and survive in space, they can also evolve into something potentially dangerous. a study grown in space to. coliHe found that . has different physical properties due to changes in microgravity. These physical changes make it harder for antibiotic drug molecules to penetrate cell membranes, which is what grows in space. to. coliIt means that it is antibiotic resistant.

Other dangerous changes bacteria may encounter in space can only be guessed at, but no one wants to learn the answer the hard way. Additionally, owning contaminated spaceships is a health risk to astronauts. An astronaut’s immune system is already weakened in space. If an astronaut does get a terrible disease or infection, it will be very difficult to be treated without a proper hospital or adequate medical resources, which are still an earthbound luxury.

solution

Strict quality control measures are already in place when it comes to building spaceships. planetary requirements seem small, but they should not be taken lightly. The consequences of alien life on Earth’s ecosystem and balance are incalculable. therefore, if any object from space collides with the earth, the surrounding collision field is closed and decontaminated is done.

plasma sterilizationmakes it easy to sterilize spaceships evenly without damaging sensitive equipment or sensitive materials on board. It is necessary to ensure that spaceships are kept germ-free, because if large quantities get on board, they can be quite dangerous to the integrity and safety of the mission.

It is also necessary for astronauts to maintain good hygiene, as skin or gut bacteria can also enter the spacecraft’s air circulation and spread everywhere. and subject space travel when cleaning is king!

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