The 2-millimeter hole that caused pressure leak in the International Space Station might have been fixed, but it still causes a lot of pressure on both Russian and American space agencies and their astronauts.
After being determined that the hole was human-made, a commission was created by Roscosmos to find the cause of the hole. The Russian State Space Corporation CEO said that the hole could have been made on Earth or in space and that they didn’t rule out “deliberate spoilage.”
As soon as the Russian media heard the word “sabotage,” it triggered a lot of theories which are nothing more than rumors.
The special commission released no official announcement, but the outlets wrote that the hole was made be a NASA astronaut on purpose. The news outlets based their story on “unnamed sources” which worked in the commission and told the Russian newspaper Kommersant that the commission was investigating if one of the three Americans on board was the culprit.
Kommersant claimed that NASA would have done so because one of the astronauts was sick and an emergency departure from the station would cost almost US$85 million.
These statements were based on the drill marks left close to the small hole, which was said to be made by someone in zero gravity. However, an aerospace engineer at the University of North Dakota, Pablo De Leon explained that it was impossible to do that:
“You need to push with enough force to penetrate both the fiberglass and the aluminum wall. It’s mechanically difficult to do. You have no way to secure yourself with one hand in that particular space to make the hole with the second hand”.
The Russian Spacecraft Receives Limited Access
Moreover, the Russian spacecraft will limit the access to American astronauts, only to be permitted by the commander of the ISS, a fact stated in the Kommersant by the anonymous source.
So, what really happened and how are the astronauts taking in all these rumors on Earth?
The American commander of the ISS, Drew Feustel, stated that there was no sabotage done by the crew:
“I can unequivocally say that the crew had nothing do with this. I think it’s absolutely a shame and somewhat embarrassing that anybody is wasting any time talking about something that the crew was involved in.”
A day before Feustel made the statement, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev posted on Twitter a photo of the fixed hole, saying: “everything is calm on board; we are living in peace and friendship as always.”
Meanwhile, Yuri Borisov, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, criticized the media for their coverage, referring to the Kommersant’s article:
“It is absolutely unacceptable to cast a shadow over our cosmonauts or American astronauts.”
Finally, John Oliver made a joke on the real culprit at the ISS – the ten mice which are now on board of the station!
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.