Space Station MYSTERY: Unidentified YELLOW substance sent to Earth after HOLE
RUSSIAN astronauts repairing a small hole on the Soyuz spacecraft found a strange yellowish-black composition that had formed around the hole on the spacecraft and intend to send it to earth to be analysed.
The astronauts Sergei Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko located the tiny hole in the external hull of the Soyuz capsule during a seven-hour spacewalk as they looked for clues about a suspected drilled hole that caused a leak four months ago. The video depicts the cosmonauts cutting through the outer layer of the capsule to determine exactly where the hole was before making the repairs from the outside for the first time as the whole had to be plugged from the inside in August. It took nearly four hours to cross the approximately 30 metres to the capsule and the insulation proved harder to remove than expected, taking another one to two hours of effort.
Unlike the ISS space-craft, the Soyuz was not designed to be repaired during spacewalks and has no outside railing for astronauts to hold onto.
The video showed the astronauts cutting and stabbing at the insulation and bits of shredded silver insulation as the pair removed it with a knife and long cutters to collect a 2mm sample of the yellowed black epoxy sealant protruding from the hole.
Mr Kononenko took samples of the sealant from the opening during the spacewalk with the intention of sending it back to earth for further analysis when the spacecraft departs the ISS on December 20.
He explained that some kind of woolly yellowish- lack composition has formed around the hole of the spacecraft.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has said the samples will be sent to earth to “get to the truth” of the cavity’s origins.
Even though the damaged segment of the spacecraft is destined to burn upon re-entry, for now Mr Kononenko has patched it up with fresh thermal insulation material.
Soyuz is a Russian spacecraft that carries astronauts and supplies to and from the International Space (ISS) station, as well as bringing people back to Earth.
Soyuz is comprised of a rocket which carries a capsule into space and after launch the capsule and the rocket separate with the rocket returning to Earth and the capsule continuing onward.
The initial leak created tension between the US and Russian space agencies as an investigation was launched into whether it was an attempt at sabotage and whether the hole was drilled during manufacturing or in orbit.