Super-fast space junk punches hole through space station

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A piece of space debris has smashed a gaping hole through an important part of the International Space Station.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Show space debris fragment flying in Earth orbit, approaches ISS
2. Space debris fragment hits robot arm of ISS, punches hole through it, robot arm in action
3. Robotic arm unfolds to meet oncoming satellite, grabs satellite and brings it in
4. ISS fires thrusters to go higher, we see space debris approaching
5. Debris passes just under ISS, show exaggerated view of debris orbiting Earth
6. Zoom out to show sequence of more and more debris collecting around Earth over time

VOICEOVER (in English):
Science Alert reports that a piece of space debris has hit and damaged part of the International Space Station.

Photos released by NASA shows a small hole that had been punched through the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.

The arm has been a fixture on the ISS for twenty years. It's a multi-jointed titanium robotic arm that can assist with maneuvering objects outside the ISS.

It's unclear exactly when the impact occurred. The damage was first noticed on 12 May, during a routine inspection.

NASA says the robotic arm seems to be working normally, despite the damage.

The space debris problem does seem to be increasing. Last year, the ISS had to perform emergency maneuvers three times to avoid collisions with space debris at its altitude of around 400 kilometers.

An estimated 130 million fragments of man-made material smaller than a millimeter are orbiting Earth right now.

Over 23,000 pieces bigger than a softball are being tracked in low-Earth orbit to help satellites and the ISS avoid collisions, but the millions of smaller fragments are too small to be tracked.


SOURCES: NBC News, Science Alert, CNET
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/space-junk-damages-international-space-stations-robotic-arm-rcna1067
https://www.sciencealert.com/space-debris-has-damaged-the-international-space-station
https://www.cnet.com/news/orbital-debris-strikes-iss-robotic-arm-leaves-a-mark/