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That Leak on The ISS Was Made by a Person. Here’s What We Know So Far

Last week astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) awoke to a worrying message from flight control.

Hidden somewhere on board the ISS was a tiny pressure leak that was slowly allowing air to seep out of the spacecraft and into the abyss.

The six astronauts on board were not in any imminent danger, although locating the leak was their top priority for the day. The US crew hunkered down in the Russian segment and sealed off all the compartments one by one.

A two millimetre hole was at last discovered in the Russian segment itself. And while that hole may not seem very big, if nothing had been done to fix it, it would have deprived the ISS of air in just 18 days.

The hole was immediately sealed over with a special type of tape to buy the astronauts some time for a permanent solution.

Meanwhile, a special commission was set up by the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos to investigate the cause of the rupture. What they found was unexpected.

At first it seemed likely that the tiny hole had come from a micrometeoroid impact – one of the many bullets of debris that whizz around in space.

The theory was even supported by former astronaut Scott Kelly, who explained that this sort of thing happens all the time.

“We’ve dodged a lot of bullets over the past 20 years,” he tweeted.

But as the inquiry progressed, the hole began to look more and more like it came not from the outside, but from the inside.

“We are considering all the theories,” said Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

“The one about a meteorite impact has been rejected because the spaceship’s hull was evidently impacted from inside”.

Then, things began to get shadier. A photo, released by NASA and then mysteriously deleted, reveals what looks strangely like a drill hole.

“It was done by a human hand – there are traces of a drill sliding along the surface,” confirmed Rogozin.

Rogozin assured the media and the public that the Russian space agency was doing everything it could to find the culprit.

“It is a matter of honour for Energia Rocket and Space Corporation to find the one responsible for that, to find out whether it was an accidental defect or a deliberate spoilage and where it was done – either on Earth or in space,” he said, referring to the Russian manufacturer of the space craft.

Right now, the leading theory comes from an unnamed source at Energia, which told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that “[t]he hole was made on the ground” and that “[t]he person responsible for the act of negligence has been identified”.

Another anonymous source confirmed that the hole was accidentally drilled by a worker at Energia, who decided to hide their mistake with a seal and decorative fabric instead of reporting it.

For two months, the gamble paid off. Their patchy solution even managed to pass the spacecraft’s pressurisation tests before it was launched into space to meet up with the ISS. But then, the seal began to leak.

“[Once in orbit], the glue dried and was squeezed out, opening the hole,” the second source told RIA Novosti.

Repairing the hole has been neither simple nor straightforward, and the problem may have even caused a few cracks between Moscow and Houston.

It appears that the Russian space agency wanted to immediately and permanently seal the breach with a special glue, adding insulation and medical gauze on top.

But NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel, who is currently in charge of the 56th ISS mission, was uncomfortable with the plan. In audio from the event, Feustel asks flight control in Houston if the proposed glue has any expanding properties to it.

“Andrew, right now, we are not completely sure all the properties that that sealant that Moscow is talking about. We’re discussing with them right now,” flight control replies.

Not satisfied with the answer, Feustel can be heard requesting 24 hours of extra time so that the procedure can be tested on Earth.

“I would really like to see a test of that, somehow, on the ground before we do a test up here and see if it’s going to work,” Feustel says.

“We sort of feel like we’ve got one shot at it and if we screw it up, then the implications are one of these vehicles is going home, or that vehicle is going home, sooner than later”.

But without another option on the table, Moscow insisted on their plan. After just an hour or so, the decision was made to go ahead with their proposed solution. A second patch was added the next day, and pressure in the ISS now appears to be stable.

Rogozin told reporters that they were looking into whether the hole was made because of negligence, or if it was made deliberately.

“Now it is essential to see the reason, to learn the name of the one responsible for that,” he said.

“And we will find out, without fail”.

There has been no further statement from Roscocosmos about the latest allegations that a worker at Energia is responsible.

Read More On This At ScienceAlert – Latest

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India Blew up a Satellite. Now A “Space Fence” Is Tracking Its Debris

Explosive Demonstration

Last month, India demonstrated its capabilities as a spacefaring nation and drew international criticism when it used a missile to blew up one of its own satellites.

The launch happened to coincide with Lockheed Martin’s test run of a new space monitoring technology called the Space Fence, which can detect and track any unregistered objects orbiting the Earth. According to Space News, that was a stroke of luck that could mitigate damage to people and equipment in space.

Picket Fence

The satellite explosion essentially turned the satellite into a cloud of space debris, which could in the future collide with other satellites, scientific instruments, or astronauts in orbit around the Earth — remember “Gravity”?

“We happened to be up during an endurance test and we were very excited to see that the system performed nominally,” Matthew Hughes, Lockheed Martin business development manager, told Space News. “Space fence is all about the ability to identify break ups, maneuvers, closely spaced objects, proximity operations, new foreign launches.”

While Space Fence isn’t an actual blockade in space, it can at least help officials prepare for and plan around collisions.

READ MORE: Indian anti-satellite test proves early test for Space Fence [Space News]

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Gateway to HEAVEN? NASA Hubble Telescope finds amazing cross structure at centre of galaxy

AN incredible image of what appears to be a cross at the centre of the galaxy has sparked theories it’s the gateway to heaven.

The image was first released by the space agency in June 1992 – according to hubblesite.org – but has just reemerged on conspiracy website Disclose.tv.

FINDING: This cross structure has sparked theories of a gateway to heaven (Pic: NASA)

According to hubblesite.org, which first published the image, the cross is due to “absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole”.

It is also 1,100 light-years away from Earth, the website reveals.

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It writes: “The darkest bar may be an edge-on dust ring which is 100 light-years in diameter.

“The edge-on torus not only hides the black hole and accretion disk from being viewed directly from Earth, but also determines the axis of a jet of high-speed plasma and confines radiation from the accretion disk to a pair of oppositely directed cones of light, which ionize gas caught in their beam.

DISCOVERY: The cross structure was found by NASA’s Hubble Telescope

“The second bar of the “X” could be a second disk seen edge on, or possibly rotating gas and dust in MS1 intersecting with the jets and ionization cones.”

The incredible find has sparked claims it could prove the existence of heaven.

One commenter wrote on Disclose.tv: “Wow I guess I’ve been wrong all these years!

“This is surely a sign that God exists and he is showing us that heaven resides with the very centre of our galaxy.”

Another wrote: “Interesting. I’d say X marks the spot, but it does look like a crucifix. In fact, it looks like a figure hanging off of a crucifix…”

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Second Interstellar Meteor Discovered and This One Hit the Earth

Move over, ‘Oumuamua … there’s a new interstellar object in town. Well, there was, according to Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the astronomer who will be forever linked to ‘Oumuamua because of his theory that the cigar-shaped, not-of-this-solar-system object might actually be artificially made – in other words, an interstellar spaceship or solar sail. Despite some ridicule, Harvard didn’t fire the chair of its Astronomy Department and Loeb went back to work … and has now discovered his own interstellar object which predates ‘Oumuamua. Avi, can you give this one a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce?

“I was very surprised. I didn’t expect that. I thought we will not see anything. But in retrospect, like any discovery, you say, Oh yeah, of course. How could I be so foolish not to look for that in the first place?”

“That” is — or was – a meteor that was reported over Manus Island in Papua New Guinea on January 8, 2014. In a paper that has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Loeb and Harvard undergraduate student Amir Siraj describe how they found the report while reviewing the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies’ catalog of meteor events for objects that had two key ingredients indicating they might be from another galaxy – speed and trajectory.

“We know the motion of the Earth [and] we correct for it—for the gravity of Earth, gravity of the sun, gravity of all the planets.”

Loeb told National Geographic that he and Siraj searched through 30 years of data and found one meteor that had the right combination of both. The meteor was traveling at almost 37 miles per second (134,200 mph or 216,000 km/h) when it disintegrated over Manus Island. That’s too fast to have been slingshot at Earth by a tight loop around the Sun or Jupiter or another planet in the way NASA gives space probes a boost in velocity, which means it was probably fired at us by another star. While there are no pictures of this meteor, the data in the CNEOS catalog indicated an unusual trajectory that, when coupled with its speed, indicated this was most likely an interstellar object that arrived three years before ‘Oumuamua.

“If we identified such a thing in real time, we could take a spectrum and figure out the composition.”

Unfortunately, this one burned up in the atmosphere due to its size — three feet across and weighing about 1,100 pounds. And no, it wasn’t cigar-shaped, so Loeb doesn’t think it was a spaceship. However, it could still have been carrying life forms.

“You can imagine that if these meteors were ejected from the habitable zone of a star, they could help transfer life from one planetary system to another.”

Panspermia! Loeb thinks most of these interstellar objects are much smaller than ‘Oumuamua (1 km long) and will disintegrate before impacting, but much could be learned by beefing up the NEO detection system to catch more of them as they burn up in the atmosphere so their spectrums can be analyzed for mineral content.

That’s not as exciting as finding an alien spaceship, but Avi Loeb seems well on his way to becoming the go-to astronomer for interstellar objects.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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