In Brief

What made the hole in the International Space Station?

Sealant and duct tape used to fix 2mm hole in a Russian section of the station

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have reportedly managed to plug a 2mm hole in the structure, after it was hit by space junk or a micrometeorite.

Mission flight controllers in Houston and Moscow were alerted to the situation when air pressure inside the ISS started to drop on Wednesday night.

The astronauts were instructed to try to find the leak, eventually tracing it to the Russian Soyuz vehicle that was used to carry three crewmembers to the ISS on 8 June.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst initially plugged the hole with his finger, before covering it with duct tape.

What caused the hole?

According to Russian space agency staff members “the incident may have been caused by an impacting micrometeoroid — a tiny piece of rock or other material”, Space.com says.

“Although the leak is small, if it had not been spotted the crew would have run out of air in 18 days,” the Daily Telegraph says.

The ISS crew are now working with engineers on the ground to decide if a “more robust” repair will be necessary, the BBC says.

Three ISS crewmembers are due to use that same Soyuz vehicle to return to Earth at the end of the year.

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