Project Much? Paranoid Russian Media Doubles Down on Claim That ISS Hole Was Sabotage By NASA Astronauts

Thursday, 13 September 2018 - 10:25AM
Science News
Thursday, 13 September 2018 - 10:25AM
Project Much? Paranoid Russian Media Doubles Down on Claim That ISS Hole Was Sabotage By NASA Astronauts
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Image Credit: Pixabay Composite
In case you missed it, a couple weeks ago astronauts aboard the International Space Station found a small hole on the side where the Russian Soyuz capsule is. The non-threatening hole was patched, and the initial explanation was that a small meteorite had struck the station, but Russia wasn't buying it. The word "sabotage" was thrown around and an investigation was launched to find the person responsible. Fast forward to present day and not only is that theory is still alive and well, but the Russian media has taken its claims to another level, reporting that the hole was drilled by a NASA astronaut so that a sick crew member could leave the mission early and return to Earth.

According to Science Alert, there have been no announcements regarding the investigation or new evidence presented, but that hasn't stopped several news outlets from pointing the finger at NASA. The first person to suggest that it could have been a sick crew member's attempt to sabotage the mission was Russian MP Maxim Surayev, but he did not present the theory as fact. "If a cosmonaut pulled this strange stunt-and that can't ruled out- it's really bad," Surayev said. Several "unnamed sources" who are allegedly working with the investigation told the Russian media that they are trying to find which of the three Americans on board is the culprit. "Russian specialists have already requested from NASA the data of the astronauts, as well as their current medical indications," read an article by the Russian newspaper Kommersant. "If this version is confirmed, then the Russian-American relations in space will be dealt a severe blow." One of the sources said that access to the Russian section of the ISS is by authorization only, "but we can not exclude unauthorized access of Americans."

In an interview with CBS News, Station commander Drew Feustel denied all accusations. "I can unequivocally say that the crew had nothing to do with this on orbit, without a doubt, and I think it's actually a shame and somewhat embarrassing that anybody is wasting any time talking about something that the crew was involved in," he said. "The only thing the crew did was react appropriately, follow our emergency procedures, eventually locate that leak and plugged the hole. In doing so, we assured the continued operation of the space station, we ensured the ability of our crew all to remain on orbit and continue doing the great work that we do...on the International Space Station."

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov spoke out against the recent coverage of the story in the media and came to the defense of the American astronauts. "It is absolutely unacceptable to cast a shadow over our cosmonauts or American astronauts, he said in a statement. "The commission is working, and until the investigation is completed, it is by no means possible to pass such verdicts, we must wait for the final results of this work and to reveal the nature of this hole."

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