Fire and smoke detectors went off on the Russian section of the International Space Station on Thursday. The crew saw smoke and smelled burnt plastic.
The event occurred about 1:55 a.m. GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday), CBS News said. This is the latest in a long line of problems with the aging International Space Station. The Russian component has been in the spotlight recently due to several issues for the past few months.
ISS Smelled Like Burnt Plastic Ahead of Spacewalk
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station smelled smoke, quickly followed by fire alarms Phys.org wrote. The warnings sounded from the Russian portion of the space station when many astronauts smelled something "burning."
A smoke detector in the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station was activated owing to automated battery charging, according to a statement from the Russian space agency Roscosmos. However, the smoke seems to have gone far enough to the International Space Station US section. Reuters said French astronaut Thomas Pesquet described the odor as "burning plastic or electronic gear."
According to the BBC, the alarms were also sent off ahead of a planned spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts. Science Times said these people are expected to prepare the Nauka Science Module for scientific activities.
The Russian ISS crew solved the problem by turning on an air filter. The astronauts were eventually able to return to sleep when the air had cleared. Despite several difficulties like cracks in the station's walls, which led some to fear that the station might have to be retired soon, the ISS appears to be functioning as intended for the time being.
ISS Continues to Deteriorate Over The Past Few Years
Several people are aware that the International Space Station is deteriorating. It appears to them to be a relatively new phenomenon, which is far from the case.
On November 20, 1998, NASA, in collaboration with Roscosmos, Japan's JAXA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, launched the modular space station into orbit for the first time. But it didn't start out as the multi-platform station that most people are familiar with. According to ISSNationalLab.org, it took ten years and over 30 flights to build the ISS to its current size and specs.
Since then, the ISS has been involved in many of the most significant scientific studies and discoveries of the last two decades. For example, almost 20 years of study aboard the International Space Station has resulted in advancements in treating various diseases, Tech Briefs said. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, asthma, heart disease, and even cancer have benefited from ISS-based research that has enhanced the efficacy of existing therapies.
On the other hand, the ISS will be phased down shortly, forcing NASA and other space organizations across the world to come up with a replacement. For the time being, there are ideas that once the ISS departs in 2024, private enterprises should fill the gap, with deals moving quickly.
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