This $100,000 Tool Bag Is Visible From Space

Reddit // u/john217

Recently, NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara accidentally let go of a tool bag during a repair mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

The blunder, captured on live stream, turned a routine task into a costly mishap, with the tool bag, valued at $100,000, now orbiting the Earth at a staggering speed of 17,000 mph! Let’s look a little closer at this truly ridiculous story!

A Pricy Blunder

As Moghbeli and O’Hara carried out repairs on the ISS exterior, their tool bag floated away despite their attempts to save it. Now, the tool bag has become an unintended satellite, visible to amateur astronomers and other astronauts alike as it races ahead of the ISS!

Amateur astronomers and enthusiasts have reported sightings of the tool bag as it orbits Earth, easily visible with binoculars or a telescope. Its highly reflective surface gives it a visual magnitude of approximately 6, making it just slightly dimmer than the distant planet Uranus. To catch a glimpse, observers need to track the ISS using NASA’s app and look for the tool bag floating approximately two to five minutes ahead of the station.

A Space Junkyard

While the tool bag continues its rapid descent, reaching an altitude of around 70 miles over Earth, it will likely lead to disintegration due to intense atmospheric forces. This lost tool bag, now officially identified as “58229/1998-067WC”, becomes another addition to the growing collection of space debris encircling our planet.

Reddit // u/NotWorthyByAnyMeans

Interestingly, the loss of a tool in space is not an unprecedented event. In 2008, astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper misplaced hers during a repair mission on the space shuttle Endeavour. This led to tool-watching parties organized by amateur astronomers to track its orbit. Other items, including a spare glove in 1965 and a camera in 2007, have also found their way into the cosmic junkyard.