Astronauts Encounter Hazardous Ammonia Blob Throughout ISS Spacewalk

Astronauts on the Worldwide House Station (ISS) recently encountered a doubtlessly hazardous state of affairs throughout a spacewalk once they got here throughout a blob of ammonia. This incident occurred after the detection of an exterior radiator leak earlier this month. Whereas it could sound like a scene from a sci-fi film, the blob of ammonia posed actual dangers.

Ammonia is a poisonous gasoline/liquid recognized for its corrosive properties, able to inflicting instant hurt to human tissues upon contact, significantly in excessive concentrations. Publicity to ammonia can result in eye, nostril, throat, and respiratory tract irritation, and in extreme circumstances, it may end up in blindness, lung harm, and even dying. Whereas astronauts on spacewalks are protected by their fits, the presence of ammonia contained in the house station might be harmful to these working inside.

On October 25, 2023, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub performed a spacewalk to examine the ISS’s Nauka module’s exterior radiator. (Picture: NASA TV)

Through the spacewalk, astronauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub had been tasked with documenting and isolating a coolant leak from an exterior radiator that regulates the temperature in Russia’s Nauka laboratory module on the ISS.

The astronauts reconfigured valves to cease the ammonia provide to the exterior radiator, and it was throughout this course of that they noticed the ammonia blob. It’s believed that the blob fashioned from residual ammonia disturbed in the course of the valve reconfiguration.

On October 25, 2023, throughout a spacewalk outdoors the Worldwide House Station, a blob of ammonia coolant fashioned between radiator panels after disconnecting the thermal regulator. (Picture: NASA TV)

The astronauts, geared up with cleansing instruments, took precautions to stop any poisonous materials from coming into the house station. Though considered one of Kononenko’s tethers grew to become contaminated on account of his proximity to the blob, it was safely left outdoors the ISS on the finish of the spacewalk.

The information collected by the astronauts shall be examined by Russian engineers on the bottom to find out the reason for the radiator leak and develop a plan for its restore. Regardless of the doubtless harmful encounter, the astronauts reentered the ISS with none contamination, and nobody was harmed in the course of the incident.

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