this bothers me

I saw this tidbit in Yahoo news today:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A refrigerator-sized piece of space junk fell harmlessly into the South Pacific Sunday night, according to NASA.

The junk was a tank full of ammonia coolant on the international space station that was no longer needed. Astronaut Clayton Anderson threw it overboard during a spacewalk in July 2007.

Space station program manager Mike Suffredini said Monday that the debris splashed down somewhere between Australia and New Zealand Sunday night. The tank had served as a reserve supply of spare coolant at the space station since 2001.

This bothers me.  Mainly because the person who threw it overboard is identified, right there.  But this is not inappropriate behavior by any means because we have been littering space since exploration began.

And I caught the end of a National Geographic special about the rover on Mars.  The rover will probably never be retrieved from the surface.  It has no off switch and will run until it runs no more.

I know there are undeniable benefits to space exploration.  But this just doesn’t seem right.  We all know it’s wrong, but do the benefits really outweight the consequences?

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