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NASA astronauts Yasmine Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara took their first spacewalk this month with a tool bag floating in space.
The duo completed maintenance work outside the International Space Station (ISS) in six hours and 42 minutes, according to the space agency.
The November 1 spacewalk saw Moghbeli and O’Hara complete work on the station’s solar panels, which track the sun, but they didn’t have enough time to remove and store the communications electronics box. The duo left this mission to a future spacewalk, and instead conducted an evaluation of how the mission could be accomplished.
During their hours-long mission, a tool bag was found and “lost” by flight controllers using the International Space Station’s external cameras, NASA said. Fortunately, tools were not required for the rest of their missions.
NASA said in a statement: “Mission Control analyzed the path of the bag and concluded that the risk of reconnecting with the station is low and that the crew on board and the space station are safe without any action required.” Official blog.
According to EarthSky, a website that tracks cosmic events, the toolbag is currently orbiting Earth before the International Space Station, and will likely be spotted From Earth with a pair of telescopes over the next few months until it disintegrates in our planet’s atmosphere.
This is not the first time an astronaut has lost his gear in space. In 2008, Heidi Stefanyshyn’s Piper bag floated while she was cleaning and lubricating the gears on a broken rotary joint. A 2006 spacewalk saw astronauts Pierce Sellers and Michael Fossum lose a 14-inch spoon while testing a way to repair the space shuttle.
Space debris, such as these objects, is artificial material that orbits the Earth but is no longer functional. It can be anything from a small chip of paint to parts thrown away during rocket launches.
In September 2023, European Space Agency An estimated 35,290 objects have been tracked and cataloged by Various space observation networks, where the total mass of objects orbiting the Earth reaches more than 11 thousand tons.
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