Space junk hits and damages ISS leaving gaping hole in robotic arm
A SPACE junk collision has left a hole in the International Space Station.
A tiny piece of floating space debris struck a robotic arm on the ISS and has caused some visible damage.
According to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the robotic arm is attached to the outside of the ISS and 'a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket' has been damaged.
The issue was first noticed during a routine inspected on May 12.
The arm, called Canadarm2, has continued to complete tasks and planned operations.
The CSA revealed the surprising damage in a recent blog post.
It said: "While the utmost precautions are taken to reduce the potential for collisions with the ISS, impacts with tiny objects do occur.
"One such hit was noticed recently during a routine inspection of Canadarm2 on May 12.
"Experts from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and NASA worked together to take detailed images of the area and assess the impact, which occurred on one of Canadarm2's boom segments.
"Despite the impact, results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm's performance remains unaffected."
Thanks to human exploration, space is full of junk and debris just floating around.
Nasa is said to track over 27,000 pieces of space junk so it can try and predict or avoid potential collisions.
Some pieces are too small to be tracked but could still cause a large amount of damage to space missions.
The CSA said: "Over 23,000 objects the size of a softball or larger are tracked 24/7 to detect potential collisions with satellites and the International Space Station (ISS).
"A number of tiny objects—ranging from rock or dust particles to flecks of paint from satellites—are also too small to be monitored.
"The threat of collisions is taken very seriously. NASA has a long-standing set of guidelines to ensure the safety of Station crew. The safety of astronauts on board the orbiting laboratory remains the top priority of all Station partners."
What is the ISS?
Here’s what you need to know about the International Space Station…
- The International Space Station, often abbreviated to ISS, is a large space craft that orbits Earth and houses astronauts who go up there to complete scientific missions
- Many countries worked together to build it and they work together to use it
- It is made up of many pieces, which astronauts had to send up individually on rockets and put together from 1998 to 2000
- Ever since the year 2000, people have lived on the ISS
- Nasa uses the station to learn about living and working in space
- It is approximately 250 miles above Earth and orbits around the planet just like a satellite
- Living inside the ISS is said to be like living inside a big house with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym, lots of science labs and a big bay window for viewing Earth
In other space news, SpaceX is about to rocket 128 glow-in-the-dark baby squid into space for Nasa.
An electric Moon buggy that will take astronauts around the lunar south pole is being created by Lockheed Martin and General Motors.
And, Nasa's Perseverance rover has created breathable oxygen.
Have you ever spotted the ISS in the sky? Let us know in the comments…
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