While the waste problem continues to assume serious dimension on our planet, we find, when examined more closely that people do not only leave trash behind on Earth. Thus, there are tons of scrap metal from satellites and rockets, which circle around the Earth, and also on the deserted Moon there is already a lot of waste that has been left behind by astronauts on their missions. Furthermore, there are countless space probes on the Moon, which were deliberately smashed or landed there, after relevant images and data had been transmitted to Earth. Clearly, it appears to be part of human nature to produce waste and to spread it everywhere on a large scale.
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned from their Apollo 11 mission in 1969, many items remained on the Moon, like technical devices and tools, parts of equipment, but also mundane things like sick bags or urine containers. They were trying to make space for moon rocks and other samples. The following lunar landings have left their traces, too, for example the lunar rovers of Apollo missions 15, 16 and 17 from 1971 and 1972. Today, we are talking about 100 to 200 tons of trash on the Moon.
Some scientists believe that all lunar waste should be declared a historical site and registered as a monument, in order to protect from theft by any future moon tourists. However, wouldn’t this actually be the easiest form of garbage disposal! The golf balls that Alan B. Shepard struck, as part of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, would certainly achieve record prices on eBay.