Space rock rips through ISS solar panel, gives hull a miss

Apr 29, 2013

Space is a dangerous world. Debris is flying around everywhere, including small space rocks (read: bits of asteroid or meteoroid), which means that the International Space Station is constantly prone to getting hit by these small objects, and when you're traveling at 4.8 miles per second, even small objects can have a big impact. ISS Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted a photo of a hole in the one of the solar panels where a space rock ripped through.

Few details are known at this point, but Hadfield referred to the damage on the solar panel as a "bullet hole," and said that he was "glad it missed the hull." We're not sure exactly what would happen if a small rock like that collided with the ISS hull, but judging from Hadfield's sigh of relief, nothing good would come out of it.

We're guessing that the hole didn't cause too much severe damage to the solar panel, or else the ISS would be in deep trouble. We're not sure how large the small hole is, but it doesn't look big at all -- merely a small speck compared to the sheer size of the solar panels on the station.

Of course, this isn't the first time that Hadfield has talked about small meteoroids hitting the ISS. He hosted a Reddit AmA back in February where he discussed "micro-meteorites would sometimes hit the hull and make a loud "ping" noise, which leaves dents on the outside of the station. However, Hadfield notes that a larger piece of rock could come along and cause greater damage.

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