Two astronauts spacewalking on the International Space Station harmlessly lost grip of a tool bag during a Nov. 1 spacewalk. The shiny object, visible in binoculars, showed up in footage taken by the Virtual Telescope Project on Wednesday (Nov. 15).
"The image above comes from a single 2-second exposure," project founder Gianluca Masi wrote in a statement, alongside the image. "The object looks like a sharp dot of light in the center, as the telescope tracked it, so stars left long trails on the background."
NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara were doing a challenging solar array part replacement when the tool bag was "inadvertently lost," the agency wrote in a Nov. 1 statement.
"Flight controllers spotted the tool bag using external station cameras. The tools were not needed for the remainder of the spacewalk," agency officials wrote. "Mission Control analyzed the bag's trajectory and determined that risk of recontacting the station is low — and that the onboard crew and space station are safe — with no action required."
The stray tool bag will float around our planet for a few months, until tendrils of Earth's atmosphere pull it back for a safe burn-up high above the surface at roughly 70 miles (113 kilometers) in altitude. The bag was roughly 258 miles (415 kilometers) above Earth as of last week.