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Cosmonaut who found blob growing outside International Space Station was told to leave area immediately after his discovery

Cosmonaut who found blob growing outside International Space Station was told to leave area immediately after his discovery

Moscow Mission Control ordered the cosmonaut to return to the ISS immediately.

In October 2023, cosmonauts on board the ISS conducted a spacewalk to repair a leaking radiator.

Russian space agency Roscosmos confirmed that the leak originated from the backup radiator mounted on the outside of the Nauka module launched in 2021. While the main radiator remained operational, Roscosmos scheduled a spacewalk to address the issue.

During the inspection, cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko observed several holes in the radiator panel.

'The holes have very even edges, like they've been drilled through,' Kononenko told Moscow Mission Control.


'There are lots of them. They are spread in a chaotic manner.'

The cosmonauts were equipped with a cloth towel to absorb any escaping liquid. However, Kononenko noticed a strange globule believed to have been formed from residual ammonia coolant.

Reportedly, the leak was not immediately dangerous but did pose extra complications once the cosmonauts, Kononeko and his colleague Nikolai Chub, took a closer look.

Kononeko was instructed to leave the area immediately after he saw the blob had made its way onto his safety tether. Moscow Mission Control demanded his return to ISS but ordered him to bag up and leave the tether outside to avoid spreading the dangerous substance inside the station - a dangerous move while floating in outer space.

The radiator - which has since been isolated from supply lines - is said to be fixed in a future space walk.

peepo / Getty
peepo / Getty

It is still unknown as to what the actual case of the radiator leak was.

However, Russian engineers on the ground will use the data collected by the cosmonauts to further investigate the cause of the leak along with the steps needed to return the radiator to normal function.

On another mission, Kononenko and Chub installed a synthetic radar communications system and released a nanosatellite to test solar sail technology. The radar will be used to monitor Earth's environment.

In other space science news, the US space agency NASA has provided an update on its mission to capture an asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000.

The metal-rich asteroid contains iron, gold and nickel ores which could open up new revenue streams for space mining missions.

Featured Image Credit: NASA TV / peepo / Getty