Have you ever driven your freshly washed car through a mud puddle on the street, or had a bird dropping right on the hood just hours after paying the carwash for a deluxe car wash? Well, what do they say; ‘it happens’. After spending years in the cleaning business, washing cars, trucks, boats and planes, I’ve seen it all. I’ve personally cleaned the biofoul scum from the water line of yachts, plastered migrating butterflies off the bumpers of long-haul trucks, and dead bird carcasses off the leading edges of private jets. Let’s face it, here on Earth there is a lot of stuff floating in the air or puddled on the ground – but that is here, what about space?
Well, even though there appears to be only one molecule per square meter in space, space craft travel faster and will a lot of molecular matter when traveling afar. There was an interesting article in AstroWatch News Online on June 29, 2018 titled; “Milky Way Rich in Grease-Like Molecules, Study Finds,” which stated:
“The researchers found that there are about 100 greasy carbon atoms for every million hydrogen atoms, accounting for between a quarter and a half of the available carbon. In the Milky Way Galaxy, this amounts to about 10 billion trillion trillion tonnes of greasy matter, or enough for 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter.”
Before you get excited, the article goes on to note: “This space grease is not the kind of thing you’d want to spread on a slice of toast! It’s dirty, likely toxic and only forms in the environment of interstellar space (and our laboratory). It’s also intriguing that organic material of this kind – material that gets incorporated into planetary systems – is so abundant.”
Thus, if our spacecraft do “Boldly Go” and explore the Universe, no doubt they will come back totally dirty and need SpaceCraft Washing. Well, I guess as technology changes so too does industry. I know this very well as a former up-start in the car wash industry, as I was the first innovator to come up with a mobile car washing business.
In the future, Spacecraft Cleaning and Detailing might become quite a lucrative business. Think of all those ‘private space’ companies that wish to take up space tourists? Each flight they will come back totally dirty and filthy, with greasy film all over them. It probably will be hard to clean off having been frozen on the hull of the spacecraft and then backed on at super high temperatures during re-entry. Perhaps this could be a future TV episode of Dirty Jobs!