The Mystical dorm room was filled with a strange but worrying smell. Verum sniffed the air and said, “What is this smell? It’s so acrid.”
Felix joined her in sniffing the air, “It smells like something burning.”
“Yes, yes, that’s it,” said Verum, “Oh no, what is burning? Did Scorch accidentally set something on fire?”
“Oi, Verum! It’s your crystal ball,” said Orak, “It’s giving out the odor of plastic burning. It must have something to do with the news.”
“Oh, let me take a look,” said Verum, “Oh my MysticLord! You’re right, Orak. The crew on the International Space Station (ISS) raised an alarm after they saw smoke and smelt burning plastic. This happened in the Russian-built Zvezda module where the crew has their living quarters.”
“Oh, no! Is everything okay? What happened?” said Orak rushing to Verum’s side.
“What is the International Space Station?” said Felix.
Orak explained, “The ISS is an enormous spacecraft that orbits around the Earth. It is made up of many tiny parts called modules. The space agencies of various countries contributed to these modules, such as United States National Aeronautics and Space Research (NASA), Russia’s Roscosmos, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency (ESA), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Astronauts stay in the ISS and conduct research. Currently, there are seven astronauts on the ISS.”
“Now, the ISS was built in 1998. Back then, it was designed to have a 15-year lifespan,” said Verum, “But it has now been over 22 years. So, the ISS is getting old. According to Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian official, the ISS could suffer severe damage due to outdated equipment and hardware. This damage could be beyond repair.”
“Do you know that about 80% of the in-flight systems in the Russian segment of the ISS have passed their expiry date?” added Orak, “Small cracks have developed in Russia’s Zarya section which could widen over time. This would spell disaster for humans.”
“At this rate, Roscosmos says the ISS would not be operational by 2030,” said Verum, “This problem needs to be addressed.”