An astronaut on the International Space Station used only a finger to plug a hole in the technologically advanced billion-pound spacecraft.
Crew members were forced to apply the unconventional solution after scientists noticed a 2mm ‘micro-fracture’ which caused pressure in the cabin to drop.
European Space Station astronaut Alexander Gerst was reportedly the man who used his fingertip to plug the tiny tear as his crew members sealed the hole with masking tape.
"In effect, he literally touched space without a space suit," tweeted the YouTube channel Techniques Spatiale .
The concerning loss of pressure was detected by flight controllers as the Expedition 55/56 crew members slept on Wednesday.
NASA officials decided to wait until the men had woken up before alerting them to the issue located on the Russian section of the orbiting lab.
The leak was found aboard a Soyuz shuttle, which is currently docked on the station, and experts say the damage was likely caused by a mereortie.
"The leak has been isolated to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment, or upper section, of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft attached to the Rassvet module of the Russian segment," NASA said.
"The rate of the leak was slowed this morning through the temporary application of Kapton tape at the leak site.
"Flight controllers at their respective Mission Control centers in Houston and Moscow worked together with the crew to effect a repair option in which Soyuz commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos used epoxy on a gauze wipe to plug the hole identified as the leak source," NASA later said.
The six ISS astronauts – three Americans, two Russians and a German – were brought to the station using the Soyuz shuttle in June but will return to Earth via a capsule.
NASA astronaut will play the first tennis match in SPACE tonight – here’s how you can watch it
A NASA astronaut Drew Fuestel grew concerned about the sealant solution and a more permanent fix for the small air leak is now being sought by organisers of the mission.
Apparently the men were told to use a toothpick on the hole so a better understanding of the problem could be illustrated.
The International Space Station is used by five participating space agencies to carry out experiments in astronomy, biology and other fields of study.
The station has been in operation since 1998 and has been visited by astronauts, cosmonauts and space tourists from 17 different nations.
Earlier this month a NASA astronaut took part in the first ever tennis match in space.
The game saw NASA astronaut and tennis fan Andrew ‘Drew’ Feustel, attempt to play a game of doubles with fellow crewmates – European Space Agency flight engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA Flight Engineers Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor.
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