And there it goes. The astronaut tool bag that floated away during the most recent extravehicular activity outside the International Space Station (ISS) appears as a tiny white speck in this new astronomical image.
The Virtual Telescope Project released an image of the ISS crew lock bag in orbit after it was misplaced by spacewalking astronauts on November 1. The image was captured on Wednesday using a single 2-second exposure by one of the facility’s robotic telescopes located in Manciano, Italy.
The telescope tracked and spotted the runaway bag as it was zooming through Earth orbit at speeds reaching 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kilometers per hour). The robotic telescope needed to move quickly to track the object as it flew across the sky. In the image, it looks like a lonely dot amidst the vast emptiness of space, surrounded only with faint streaks of light from a few surrounding stars.
The tool bag was lost during a spacewalk by astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara outside the ISS, and it accidentally floated out of reach. Like the ISS, it now orbits the Earth, and at a similar velocity.
This space oopsie was tracked and cataloged as a +6th magnitude object, which is just slightly below the limit of visibility to the unaided eye, according to EarthSky. The orbiting tools will likely remain in orbit for a few months before losing altitude and disintegrating in Earth’s atmosphere. In its current orbit, the bag doesn’t pose a threat to the ISS or the astronauts on board.