UK markets closed
  • NIKKEI 225

    -272.68 (-0.93%)

    +121.75 (+0.43%)

    -1.03 (-1.43%)

    -85.00 (-4.57%)
  • DOW

    -203.02 (-0.60%)

    -858.51 (-3.07%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    -32.76 (-3.38%)
  • ^IXIC

    +133.82 (+0.95%)
  • ^FTAS

    -17.14 (-0.42%)

Space debris punctures International Space Station’s robotic arm

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The International Space Station has been hit with a piece of orbital debris, leaving a sizeable hole in its 17 metre-long robotic arm.

Experts from the Canadian Space Agency and Nasa found the puncture during a routine inspection of Canadarm2. The arm performs station maintenance, moves supplies – and even astronauts – and performs “cosmic catches” by grappling visiting crafts and bringing them to the ISS.

The inspection, which took place on 12 May, found that the puncture came from a piece of space debris that was too small to be tracked – which accounts for rock or dust particles to flecks of paint from satellites, the CSA says. Any object the size of a football or larger can be tracked.

 (NASA/Canadian Space Agency)
(NASA/Canadian Space Agency)

“Despite the impact, results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm's performance remains unaffected. The damage is limited to a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket”, the space agency said.

“Canadarm2 is continuing to conduct its planned operations, including hoisting Dextre [a repair robot] into position to replace a faulty power switchbox”.

The issue of space debris has been long-running, and is only going to become a larger issue as humanity sends more crafts into orbit.

There are currently around 200,000 objects between 0.4 and 4 inches, and tens of thousands of objects larger than 4 inches, floating in space according to the United States Space Surveillance Network – but that could be a conservative estimate.

A study presented last month at the European conference on space debris says that the problem has been underestimated, and that the amount of space junk in orbit could, in a worst case scenario, increase 50 times by 2100.

Should two pieces of space debris collide, the result could be a domino effect that could keep humans trapped on Earth.

In order to alleviate this problem, the UK has led the launch of two spacecraft to collect the debris using a magnetic docking system.

Read More

Oil and debris cover the beach as ship burns off Sri Lanka's coast

Binance CEO mocks Elon Musk over Tesla’s bitcoin ‘hypocrisy’

Bitcoin price - live: Crypto market launches comeback as ethereum and doge lead fresh price rise

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting