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Tool bag now orbiting Earth after astronauts 'inadvertently' lose it

A wandering tool bag slipped out of the the sight of two NASA astronauts in space, and now you can see it from Earth.
Tool bag now orbiting Earth after astronauts 'inadvertently' lose it
Posted at 8:44 PM, Nov 14, 2023

No, that's not a new planet orbiting Earth. But if you're seeing an unexpected object floating around in space, your eyes aren't deceiving you.

A wandering tool bag is now roaming high above after accidentally drifting away from the International Space Station while NASA astronauts were carrying out maintenance on a spacewalk.

Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara spent six hours and 42 minutes in space fixing the station's solar arrays, which help generate electricity to power the station when the tool bag was "inadvertently lost," NASA said.

The tools in the missing bag were luckily not needed for the rest of the spacewalk, and based on its trajectory the odds of the tool bag coming into contact with the station again are low, the agency said.

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Now the bag is circling Earth and reflecting enough light to be visible through a human's binoculars, space news website EarthSky reported. The site also said the on-the-run object will likely remain in space a few months before disintegrating into the atmosphere.

If you're trying to catch a glimpse of the new "star," try tracking the space station on a clear night first, as the bag still appears to be in close proximity tracking a bit ahead of the station's path, EarthSky said. 

The tool bag joins more than 35,000 objects being tracked and cataloged across space, according to the European Space Agency.

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