Space Station Leaks

My friend “Greg”: tells me that there is actually a simple way to detect small leaks in space structures. Google tells me that the station even has one: “a portable mass spectrometer”: This can be used to detect gas leaks with larger holes, but can also be used to detect extremely slow leaks like the one “I mentioned earlier”:. As humidified air leaks out, water ice forms on the surface of the station close to the leak; the spectrometer can easily detect that ice, pinpointing the leak.

There’s also a trick: “watching the station’s orientation”: that can be used to detect relatively small leaks (any outgassing will act as a rocket, changing the station’s position in space; by monitoring that position, leaks can be pinpointed).

There are others; google has zillions of links…

posted at 7:40 pm on Thursday, January 08, 2004 in Science and Technology | Comments Off on Space Station Leaks

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