Title: “Lost Tool Bag from International Space Station Spotted in Telescope Image”
Date: November 20, 2023
A lost tool bag from the International Space Station (ISS) has been captured in a telescope image, causing a mild stir in the space community. The tool bag, accidentally lost by NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara during a spacewalk on November 1, was spotted by the Virtual Telescope Project on November 16.
Taken by skilled astronomers, the image clearly shows the tool bag as a sharp dot of light in the center. The bag is also visible through binoculars, making it a fascinating sight for stargazers.
NASA officials have confirmed that the tool bag does not pose any risk to the space station and that the onboard crew is safe. It will continue to orbit the Earth for a few months before ultimately burning up in the atmosphere at an altitude of approximately 70 miles. The catalog number for the tool bag is currently designated as 58229/1998–067WC by the U.S. Space Force.
The incident has once again highlighted the growing issue of space debris. NASA has been closely monitoring space junk and has had to move the space station nearly 40 times to avoid potential collisions. With the increasing number of launches and satellites in orbit, the risk of space junk is also escalating. As of January 2023, there are already 6,718 satellites in orbit, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Spacewalks are critical activities for astronauts, but accidents leading to the loss of tools or equipment have occurred in the past. In 2008 and 2010, similar incidents took place during spacewalks. To minimize the risk, astronauts undergo extensive training on spacewalk procedures.
While the loss of the tool bag is unfortunate, the safety of the ISS and its crew remains unaffected. As scientists and space organizations continue to address the challenges of space debris, incidents like these serve as reminders of the importance of responsible space exploration and debris management.