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Tue Jun 1, 2021, 03:29 PM

'Scary stuff': International Space Station robotic arm struck by space junk

The sudden appearance of a small hole in a robotic arm aboard the international space station (ISS) has brought renewed attention to the danger posed by space junk.

Mission managers discovered the puncture during an inspection of the exterior of the spacecraft on 12 May. The Canadian space agency (CSA), which operates the arm, described it as a “lucky strike” that did not affect operations or endanger the seven astronauts in orbit aboard the station.

It is not known what kind of object struck the space station or when it happened. But analysts say the incident is a reminder of the proliferating amount of junk circling Earth and the risk that poses as launches and satellites in orbit increase.
“This one didn’t do any real damage, it went through some insulation and we don’t even know if it hit part of the arm. [But] it’s some pretty scary stuff. The biggest thing we worry about is the astronauts, they’re very exposed out there, and some day it’s going to be a question of when, not if.”


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Reply 'Scary stuff': International Space Station robotic arm struck by space junk (Original post)
muriel_volestrangler Jun 1 OP
Warpy Jun 1 #1

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Tue Jun 1, 2021, 04:17 PM

1. That's why the space junk cleanup missions are being fast tracked

A test has already been launched, with the full launch set for 2025. I just hope it works and it's in time.

A system to deflect or repel debris is going to be necessary before we even think of traveling to Mars or the asteroid belt and we're probably a century or more from developing anything like that and making it practical, i.e. not an energy hog.

Until then, unmanned probes, possibly some that return samples to Earth, are our best option.

ETA: Link, stupid. https://www.npr.org/2021/03/21/979815691/new-effort-to-clean-up-space-junk-prepares-to-launch

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