ISS astronauts aren’t paying attention
It happens to all of us sometimes when we are doing odd jobs. A screwdriver, hammer or combination pliers slip out of your hands. If you’re lucky, the tool won’t fall on your toes or somewhere you can’t reach, and you can just pick it up and continue working. Two astronauts from the International Space Station ISS were a little less lucky a few days ago. They did not pay close attention while working on the outside of the ISS, resulting in a whole bag of tools falling out of their hands. slipped. That bag didn’t fall on their foot, but in space it can’t just fall on the ground either.
That ground is roughly 400 kilometers beneath their ‘feet’. And just chasing something (or someone) in space to pick them up, as James Bond wanted us to believe in the film Moonraker – and more recently George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Gravity – is not an option.
A new ‘satellite’
In other words, the bag of tools now floats independently in orbit around the Earth. A new ‘satellite’ so to speak. On a clear evening, experts say the bag could even be visible to the naked eye because the bag itself is made of reflective material. Just like the ISS, it is a relatively fast-moving star, although the brightness of the ‘tool satellite’ will be much lower. But with binoculars and a clear sky, it should work. A video posted on X shows the bag ‘fell’.
Not the first time
The good news for the two astronauts who lost the bag is that this isn’t the first time tools have been lost while the ISS is being repaired. More than 14 years ago, another astronaut also succeeded. There is of course video evidence of this too. Because yes, everything the astronauts of the ISS do in space, inside and outside the space station, is continuously recorded on camera.
No danger of tool rain from space
The tools from that time eventually, after about six months, automatically descended to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere. It is expected that the same fate awaits the bag of tools that was lost two weeks ago. So we don’t have to worry that in a few months we will suddenly be ‘pelted’ with hammers, screwdrivers and other items that are in the lost bag.