An unnerving element of mystery has been added to an already volatile mixture in space after the discovery of a mysterious hole in a spacecraft. The head of Russia's civilian space agency says a hole was discovered in a spacecraft docked at the International Space Station. Dmitry Rogozin added that the hole was almost certainly caused by a drill and could have been "deliberate".
Crew members spotted the small hole which was causing a minor loss of pressure in the Soyuz craft on Wednesday and used tape to seal the leak. Rogozin said in a televised interview, "What is this: a production defect or some premeditated actions?… We are checking the Earth version. But there is another version that we do not rule out: deliberate interference in space."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">ISS Leak summary:<br><br>First thought was MMOD strike. <br><br>Then NASA released pics. Lots of people: "Hmmm, doesn't look like MMOD". NASA deleted the photos. <br><br>Top Russian news site RIA NOVOSTI reported - via sources but apparently confirmed by Mr. Rogozin - it was a drill hole. <a href="https://t.co/520kHK0TMc">pic.twitter.com/520kHK0TMc</a></p>— Chris B - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) <a href="https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/status/1036672731809566720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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"There were several attempts at drilling," Rogozin said adding that it appeared the drill had been held by a "wavering hand" because of numerous failed attempts where the surface had been scraped by the drill bit. Initially, investigators considered whether a small space rock or micrometeorite could have caused the hole but ultimately ruled it out.
The discovery no doubt has to lead to rising tensions aboard the International Space Station as the drill hole is starting to appear like sabotage. There are three Americans, two Russians, and a German crew member currently aboard the space station. A commission will seek out the culprit and try to identify them, according to Rogozin.
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The section of the spacecraft where the drill hole was located is in a section of the ship that will not be used to carry astronauts back to Earth. Photos of the hole have already made it back to Earth and the theories have begun to circulate. Russia's Tass state news agency quoted a source in the space industry who said the damage could have been caused during testing.
The damage may have slipped past initial tests at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, or it may have been covered up. "Someone messed up and then got scared and sealed up the hole," the space industry source told Russia's Tass news agency.
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