Barcodes in Space
Living on-board a space station can be rough; there’s the lack of gravity, living where no man has gone before, and sharing a space with all of your co-workers. Besides these obvious inconveniences, it can be difficult to find things in such cramped quarters.
When astronauts need to find things, they often call upon co-workers on the ground to find them. Mission Control is able to locate just about anything aboard the spacecraft because of barcodes!
Everything inside the space station is barcoded and their serial numbers and part numbers are entered into a database that is available throughout the entire craft. If astronauts are looking for a small part, they can simply search the database in order to find its location.
When astronauts want to change the location of something, they simply scan the object’s barcode with a barcode reader, scan the new location, and through an RF link, the location of the object will be updated in the database.
As long as everyone on-board is consistent about scanning before they change an object’s location, then anything can be found at any given moment. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have at home!