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Piece of space junk damages robotic arm on International Space Station

Hole in the international space station
Posted at 8:04 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 11:04:35-04

A small piece of debris floating in Earth's orbit has damaged a portion of the International Space Station, according to a press release from the Canadian Space Agency.

According to the May 28 press release, officials noticed the damage to a robotic arm attached to the space station earlier this month.

The press release notes that officials discovered that a hole, about 5 mm wide, had been punctured a boom segment of Canadarm2.

While NASA and other space agencies around the world are tracking more than 23,000 objects that can be as small as a softball, the Canadian Space Agency noted that some space debris is too tiny to track.

Officials suspect that it was one of those little pieces of debris — whether a pebble or a fleck of paint from a nearby satellite — that punctured the robotic arm.

Luckily, the robotic arm is still operational and "unaffected" by the damage. The Canadian Space Agency indicated that Canadarm2 is still conducting planned operations.

"Space can be a harsh and unforgiving environment for the robots and humans that explore it," the agency said in a press release.