Astronaut plugs hole in space station with finger and tape

epa04559460 (FILE) A file undated handout image from NASA T.V. released on 20 May 2011 and taken by one of the crew members aboard the space shuttle Endeavour shows the International Space Station (ISS) as the two spacecraft were preparing to link up in Earth orbit. Reports on 14 January 2015 state the US segment of the ISS has been evacuated after a ammonia leak. The US astronauts are in security in the Russian section of the ISS, reports sate.  EPA/NASA TV / HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Photo credit: NASATV

In a spot of quick thinking, an astronaut has plugged a potentially life-threatening hole in the International Space Station with his finger and tape.

It's thought the damage was caused by a micrometeorite or space junk striking the station.

If the 2mm hole had not been spotted, the astronauts on board would have run out of air within weeks.

It was identified by flight controllers in Houston and Moscow who noticed a drop in pressure on Wednesday evening.

Astronauts found the hole in the Soyuz spacecraft attached to the Russian segment of the ISS, according to the Telegraph.

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst plugged the gap with his finger before placing sealant and tape over the hole to prevent more air leaking out into space.

The repairs seem to have stabilised the situation, officials told the Telegraph.

It's the first time that any significant damage has been caused by space junk orbiting the earth, made up of defunct satellites and spacecrafts.


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