Cosmonauts find elusive leak on ISS with… Tea

Astronauts fix space station with tea leaves

The International Space Station (ISS) has experienced a mysterious air leak since September 2019. At first, the leak was small enough to effectively place the problem on the back-burner. However, in August, the leak increased enough to warrant an investigation.

At first, parts of the station were sealed off while pressure changes were monitored. The leak was isolated to the Zvezda Support Module, which provides life support to the Russian side of the space station. Though the specific location of the leak remained elusive.

Cosmonauts then devised an unusual and creative test; they released tea leaves into the module. In the microgravity of space, the tea leaves drifted to the source of the leak, a crack in the Zvezda module. They were then able to temporarily patch the leak with Kapton tape. A more permanent repair is pending.

Fortunately there is more tea on hand for future repairs, and drinking…

This story was originally published at Business Insider:

https://www.businessinsider.com/astronauts-cosmonauts-found-space-station-leak-using-tea-leaves-2020-10

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