International Space Station finds elusive air leak using floating tea leaves

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Oct 20, 2020, 10.43 AM(IST)

International Space Station Photograph:( AFP )

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To detect the elusive air leak, a cosmonaut called Anatoly Ivanishin released tea leaves to float freely in the station's Russian segment and let them be their guide

The International Space Station (ISS) has been leaking air in above-normal volumes since September 2019.

The crew on the ISS have been searching for the air leak since August, but they finally found it using floating tea leaves which led them towards a scratch near the walls from which air was escaping.

To detect the elusive air leak, a cosmonaut called Anatoly Ivanishin released tea leaves to float freely in the station's Russian segment and let them be their guide.

Also read: Russia reports 'non-standard' air leak on space station. But there's no danger to crew

The crew members sealed the chambers by closing hatches and observed the tea leaves as floated around in microgravity.

Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, said in a statement that after analysis and a search for the leak "it was established that the spot is located in the Zvezda (star) service module, which contains scientific equipment."

The leak has been fixed temporarily by patching it with Kapton tape but it may not hold for long.

Usually, the leak is identified by a machine used to measure the amount of nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide in the station. The process is something that has been taught to the crew members during their training and is considered to be in the on-board documentation.

The incident came after astronauts in 2018 found a hole in the wall of a Russian-made Soyuz space capsule docked onto the ISS.

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