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Tips for Building Waste Management Systems

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Here are some ideas to help you learn more about your life-support system. Make sure you divide up the topics and share your findings on the Team Blog.

  • Investigate recycling initiatives in your local community. Talk to the municipality about future plans for increasing these activities.
  • Conduct a survey across Canada and compare the recycling programs in the different provinces. In which province is the greatest effort being made?
  • Write, email or visit the websites of agencies such as Pollution Probe, the provincial Ministry of the Environment or the Ministry of Natural Resources to gather information about waste management programs.
  • Inquire about biodegradable materials. How will the conditions on Mars affect this process?
  • What types of materials are suitable for use on Earth and Mars for waste management systems?
  • Experiment to test ideas about breaking down solid substances in the Martian environment. Ask an online mentor for ideas.
  • Look at ways of reducing garbage output on Earth and relate this to the Mars colony.
  • Test a variety of trash compactors and garbage disposal devices available on Earth. Would these be suitable on Mars?  Which are the most efficient?  Why?
  • Conduct composting experiments. How will this be handled on Mars?
  • Send a copy of your experiment(s) to other waste management teams across Canada and challenge them to replicate your best results.
  • Create mini-environments using terrariums or large glass jars to observe how an ecosystem operates. How could you use this information when designing a closed-environment community such as Marsville?
  • Make paper from recycled materials. How could ideas like this be useful on Mars?
  • Examine waste management systems that have been used on Space Lab and Space Shuttle, and that are planned for the International Space Station.
  • Work with the other system teams to explore their waste management needs.