Duct tape seems to be the magic fix for everything here, but what about in space? Earlier this week, a small hole on the Russian side of the International Space Station (ISS) sprung a leak.
The hole was caused by a tiny meteorite that hit it with incredible velocity, punching a small hole on the side wall. The ISS is orbiting at an altitude of about 400 km above the surface, so delivering supplies is not easy, so astronauts have to improvise with whatever material they have on hand.
Though the ISS is built to withstand hits from swirling space material in the form of dust, rocky fragments can at times be too strong or flying too fast for the walls of the lab to take them.
The hit has been reported to be rather too small, according to the BBC, as the astronauts noticed only when the air pressure sensors on board the station were reading lower pressure than normal. Astronauts were asleep at the time and woke up to a less than optimal air pressure level in the ISS and were immediately sent searching for the leak.
"Overnight and in the morning there was an abnormal situation - a pressure drop, an oxygen leak at the station," chief of the federal space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
"A micro-fracture was found; most likely it is damage from the outside. The design engineers believe it is the result of a micrometeorite," he said.
Alexander Gerst- a German astronaut and commander of the ISS is reported to have found the hole and confirmed it was the source of the leak by placing his finger over it. The leak itself was a tiny one, measuring a few mm wide on the Russian side of the lab.
As an immediate fix, the team applied a bit of Epoxy and Duct tape over it. The report says that it was able to seal the hole, but there will be a more thorough investigation in tandem with ground engineers to see if more repairs would be needed.
Col. Chris Hadfield who previously commanded the ISS posted a picture of the hole with the caption- "When your spaceship suddenly starts leaking air, you fix the hole with duct tape & a gob of epoxy. Nice save, @iss crew!"