ISS crew temporarily seals air leak that's haunted the station for months

Russian cosmonauts used a tea bag to find the exact location of the pesky leak.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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The ISS crew is working on fixing a lingering air leak.


The saga of the lingering International Space Station air leak has entered a new chapter, and there's hope it will soon be fully vanquished.

The bothersome leak has lingered for months, but the ISS crew recently tracked it down to the Russian-built Zvezda service module. Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted Monday that the crew has applied a temporary seal and is "working out a program of operations to permanently seal the leak location."

Russian news agency TASS reported last week that cosmonauts used a tea bag to track down the exact location of the leak by following where the bag floated in microgravity.  

The ISS is currently home to a crew of six made up of two NASA astronauts and four cosmonauts. Three of them will be returning to Earth on Wednesday, including NASA's Chris Cassidy, who is busy practicing his mask-wearing skills in preparation for coming home.

While an air leak in space sounds dramatic, it hasn't caused any serious problems. "The leak, which has been investigated for several months, continues to pose no immediate danger to the crew at the current leak rate," NASA said in a statement on Monday.