In recent events, a remarkable incident involving astronauts occurring outside the International Space Station (ISS) captured the attention of space enthusiasts. It involved the dropping of a tool bag, which was later photographed in motion with the help of a telescope and remarkable precision.
The incredible image was captured on November 15 by Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project. Masi stated, “The telescope tracked the extremely fast, 1,000 [inches per second], apparent motion of the bag. The object looks like a sharp dot of light in the center, as the telescope tracked it, so stars left long trails on the background.”
Although the tool bag is relatively small, its reflective surface makes it easier to spot when illuminated by the Sun’s light. This makes it visible even with binoculars, given clear and dark skies. Furthermore, a pair of binoculars can enable one to spot the bag by anticipating the path ahead of the ISS.
This tool bag incident transpired on November 1 during a repair mission led by astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara. Fortunately, the tool bag mishap didn’t affect the rest of the spacewalk as the astronauts had completed their tasks.
NASA reassured the concerned public at the time stating, “Mission Control analyzed the bag’s trajectory and determined that the risk of recontacting the station is low and that the onboard crew and the space station are safe with no action required.”
Following its dropping, the tool bag continues to lose altitude and gradually move further away from the ISS. Although some may worry about the bag’s unpredictability, it is projected to linger in orbit for a few months before eventually burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.