Astronaut Takes Out the Trash, Into Space
Discarded equipment expected to burn up in Earth's atmosphere
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2007 4:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – A NASA astronaut hurled two large pieces of space junk—a 1,400-pound reservoir filled with ammonia and a 212-pound piece of video equipment—off the International Space Station and into the Earth's orbit today. NASA does not approve of space littering, Reuters reports, but the agency had no other option.

Both pieces of scrap, which would have taken up too much room in the shuttle bay to be returned, will be tracked by radar and are expected to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. Chunks of the tank as big as 39 pounds could be durable enough to pass through, but scientists say they're likely to land in the ocean.