A farewell to Discovery and its payload of urine

first_imgConsidering last week marked the end of the final flight for the Space Shuttle Discovery, it is not surprising that many space enthusiasts looked up to catch a glimpse of the spacecraft on its final mission.Discovery launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 24th. Shortly before its landing on March 9th, one of the most beautiful videos captured was done so by Jens Hackmann of Germany who filmed the night sky as Discovery was passing overhead. What Hackmann captured looked like a comet with a curved tail.What many believe was captured is something that wouldn’t be as breathtaking if viewed up close. In fact, when most of us see it we tend to flush the toilet. That’s right, it is believed that Hackmann captured a water dump by Discovery which included frozen, crystallized urine and waste water. Water dumps are a normal event for Space Shuttles shortly before returning to Earth.A similar sight was captured in September 2009 during an earlier mission involving Discovery (STS-128). In addition to urine and waster water, it is also possible the water being seen is excess coming off the spacecraft’s fuel cells.The view captured is the result of the jettisoned water immediately turning into ice droplets. They then quickly turn into water vapor due to the heat from the sun hitting them. A similar reaction happens to comets approaching the sun.Who could have possibly thought that urine and water could be so beautiful? Little did the astronauts of Discovery know that in using the bathroom they were fueling a spectacular view from Earth as a reminder of Discovery’s final voyage.Read more at Space.comlast_img read more