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Tool bag which was dropped in space is orbiting Earth at 17,000 mph

Tool bag which was dropped in space is orbiting Earth at 17,000 mph

NASA astronauts dropped the bag while on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station

We all slip up at work from time to time, but luckily our workplace mishaps rarely cost tends of thousands of pounds like the mistake made by two NASA astronauts earlier this month.

On 2 November, astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara were carrying out repairs on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) when their tool bag floated off into space.

The moment they made the blunder was captured on a livestream, and you can watch it below:

They were carrying out the fiddly task of reconfiguring the ethernet cable and replacing the trundle bearing assembly when they lost sight of the bag.

Despite going back, the two NASA astronauts couldn't find it.

And their mistake was rather costly, with the contents of the bag being worth $100,000 (£79,225).

Now, the tool bag has been spotted by both amateur astronomers and other astronauts as it orbits the Earth at a speed of 17,000 mph, five minutes ahead of the ISS.

NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara were carrying out a spacewalk from the ISS when they lost track of the bag.
NASA

The highly reflective bag is reported to have a visual magnitude of around 6, which makes it just slightly dimmer that Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun.

As a result, the bag — officially known as a crew lock bag — should be able to be picked up by binoculars or a telescope.

To see it for yourself, first find out when you can spot the ISS from where you live (NASA has an app for that) and the bag should be floating around two to five minutes ahead of the station.

As it descends rapidly, the bag is likely to disintegrate when it reaches an altitude of around 70 miles over Earth.

Amateur astronomers have been tracking the highly reflective bag, which is visible using binoculars or a telescope.
NASA

The tool bag, which has since been given the ID number 58229/1998-067WC, joins a whole host of space junk orbiting the Earth, including pieces of shuttles and smashed-up satellites.

Funnily enough, this isn't the first time an astronaut has lost a bag in space.

In 2008, astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper mislaid hers while repairing a jammed gear on one of the solar panels of the space shuttle Endeavour.

In the months that followed, amateur astronomers held ‘tool-watching parties’ to keep up with the bag as it circled Earth.

Other items lost to the cosmos include a spare glove in 1965 and a camera in 2007.

As for the weirdest object to get lost in space? That honour goes to a spatula that was dropped by late NASA astronaut Piers Sellers during the space shuttle Discovery's flight STS-121 in 2006.

Speaking of the loss, Sellers said: "That was my favourite spatch. Don't tell the other spatulas."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images/NASA

Topics: NASA, Space, News, Science