MAY 17, 2016 9:46 AM PDT

Space Junk Chips a Window on the ISS

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

A 7mm chip has appeared in one of the windows of the International Space Station; but it’s not just any window, it’s the large Cupola that the European Space Agency added to the International Space Station in 2010, and it provides the best view of the Earth of any window in the International Space Station to date.

A 7mm chip is shown in the International Space Station's Cupola glass window.

So what caused the chip? Well as it turns out, there is a lot of space junk orbiting the Earth from expired space missions, as well as small rocks and debris. It just so happened that one of those pieces of junk was right in line with the path of the International Space Station, and the Cupola window just happened to be facing the point of impact.
 
Space junk hits the International Space Station very often, but NASA is careful to make sure no satellites or larger space equipment come into contact with it. It’s not every day, on the other hand, that windows get chipped by it.
 
Fortunately, the window of the Cupola is quadruple glazed, as ESA astronaut Tim Peake said in a statement. The thick multiple-layered fused-silica and borosilicate-glass windows take a lot more than whatever hit it to smash through.
 
The glass is strengthened even more-so than that of bulletproof glass, and it needs to be. Space junk travels as fast as 18,000 miles per hour, which is a lot considering the average bullet travels at 1,700 miles per hour. Combining that statistic with just how much space junk there is out there, it’s not hard to understand why it poses such a risk, especially on space walks.
 
The following video, shared by NASA a couple of years ago, simulates just how much space junk orbits the Earth at one given time.
 

 
We know, it’s kind of hard to believe, but the International Space Station is rarely ever damaged by any of that stuff.
 
As it sits right now, the chip is nothing to be worried about. There is no chance of the chip growing and spidering. The Cupola window likely will not be replaced, as it doesn't need to be because of all the protective layers of glass.

Source: ESA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What Would it Take to Visit Alpha Centauri?
MAR 16, 2020
What Would it Take to Visit Alpha Centauri?
Humankind has long pondered upon the ambition of becoming a multiplanetary species. While much of our realistic focus re ...
MAR 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
This Supermassive Black Hole Ejected Matter Faster Than 99% the Speed of Light
MAR 17, 2020
This Supermassive Black Hole Ejected Matter Faster Than 99% the Speed of Light
Almost a year ago, astronomers released the first true image of a black hole. All efforts were focused on a supermassive ...
MAY 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Gives Green Light for Historic Crewed SpaceX Launch
MAY 24, 2020
NASA Gives Green Light for Historic Crewed SpaceX Launch
It’s no secret that NASA is working closely with private contractors like Boeing and SpaceX as a part of its Comme ...
MAY 25, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Virgin Orbit Wants to Launch Space Rockets From 747 Jets
MAY 25, 2020
Virgin Orbit Wants to Launch Space Rockets From 747 Jets
Entities from all around the world, be it companies or government space agencies, are continuously innovating in an atte ...
JUN 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Why Are There So Few Black People in STEM?
JUN 14, 2020
Why Are There So Few Black People in STEM?
On June 10th, 2020, thousands of STEM scientists and organizations around the world went on strike to protest systemic r ...
JUL 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Spot Exposed Planetary Core for First Time
JUL 05, 2020
Astronomers Spot Exposed Planetary Core for First Time
For the first time, astronomers have spotted a planet with an exposed core. Known as TOI-849b, the finding could help us ...
Loading Comments...