Space junk strikes International Space Station, damages robotic arm

A piece of space debris has damaged the International Space Station’s robotic arm, but near-term operations appear unaffected by the cosmic crash.

A routine inspection by robotic operators on May 12 revealed the damage to the station’s Canadarm2, provided by the Canadian Space Agency, Space.com reported.

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In a Friday blog post, officials called the hole a “lucky strike,” considering the robotic arm is less than 60 feet long with a diameter of only 14 inches.

“Despite the impact, results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm’s performance remains unaffected. The damage is limited to a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket,” the CSA stated in its post.

According to CNN, an estimated 23,000 objects about the size of a softball or larger are constantly tracked by space agencies to ensure that they do not collide with satellites or the space station. The space station remains at constant risk of being struck by objects too small to be tracked, however, so the exact object responsible for the robotic arm’s damage remained unknown Tuesday.

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