Lost: A bag of tools. Last seen this month floating through space near the International Space Station (ISS). If you find it, please return it to NASA.
Two NASA astronauts left on November 1 for their first spacewalk around the ISS to take care of some routine maintenance. Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara spent 6 hours and 42 minutes outside the station removing a handling bar and replacing a bearing.
But when they reentered the space station, they realized something was missing: the tool bag.
“During the activity, a bag of tools was lost,” NASA said in an update on its website about the spacewalk.
The tools in the bag were not needed for the entire spacewalk, according to the agency. Mission Control said the bag’s trajectory posed a low risk of collision with the space station.
The bag is now floating through space, about 400 kilometers above Earth. And she will be there for a while.
EarthSky, a website that tracks happenings in space, said the shiny white tool bag will likely remain in space for a few months and then disintegrate.
It is not known what type of tool was in the bag. NASA did not respond to a request for comment on Monday night (13).
With clear skies and a pair of binoculars, people on Earth might even be able to see the missing bag, EarthSky said. The key is to look up toward the space station and then look for the bag, according to EarthSky.
The two astronauts are not the first to lose a bag of tools during a spacewalk. A bag of tools floated away from an astronaut in 2008 while she was performing maintenance outside the space station.
The bag lost this month is now among thousands of objects floating in space. The European Space Agency (ESA) said in September that there were more than 35,000 debris objects in space, which are tracked and cataloged by space surveillance networks. These items can include tools such as grease guns and screws and are tracked to prevent damage to satellites.
According to the agency, there are also thousands of smaller “debris objects” floating in space that are not tracked.
O’Hara and Moghbeli, from the US Marine Corps, have been on the space station for several weeks. O’Hara arrived at the space station aboard a Soyuz rocket on September 15, according to NASA. Moghbeli, on Aug. 27 as commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the agency said.