Russia claims NASA astronaut suffered a mental breakdown in space and damaged equipment to return home earlier

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Russia is furious at what it says is an unfair criticism of its space program.

The country’s latest addition to the International Space Station, the long-awaited Nauka Module, was docked at the outpost late last month. But its thrusters went off unexpectedly during docking procedures, causing the entire ISS to spin a turn and a half.

The international community was not impressed and collected considerable sums of bad press to the country’s space program, Roscosmos. Critics wondered aloud if Russia had become a handicap and even if NASA should continue its partnership with it.

Now, in response, the Russian state information service TASS makes his own dramatic accusations, with little to no evidence to back up his claims.

The news service now suggest that NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor suffered a nervous breakdown aboard the ISS and intentionally damaged a Russian space module in order to return to Earth in early 2018, as spotted by Ars Technicaby Eric Berger (who was himself appointed by the TASS report for criticize Russia’s space program after the Nauka incident.)

According to the report, Auñón-Chancellor experienced “an acute psychological crisis” following a deep vein thrombosis, which TASS implies that she drilled several holes in the wall of the module in order to return home earlier.

This is an incredibly serious charge, and one that would require extraordinary evidence. But all this TASS offer is an anonymous accusation from a source in Roscosmos and circumstantial evidence that a camera failed to capture what happened. TASS also claims that “the Americans” refused to take a polygraph test – which is also a small claim, because most experts now agree that they are not effective at detecting lies.

It is true that there was an incident in 2018 in which the Russian space authority claimed to have found evidence of “several drilling attempts” within the walls of the ISS.

Russia escalated the incident by asking two Russian cosmonauts to do a spacewalk to investigate the two small holes in December 2018.

Two popular theories have since emerged to explain how the holes got there: either small pieces of space debris or micrometeorites pierced the outer wall of the station, or a Russian engineer rushed to Earth was trying to cover up their shoddy work by great collage. a patch on the holes, according to Ars Technicareports the charges.

But Russian officials have never ruled out sabotage – and now the country’s state news agency appears to be using the ambiguity around the incident as a convenient retort to criticism of its unambiguous failure after docking. by Nauka.

READ MORE: Russian space program just threw NASA astronaut under the bus [Ars Technica]

Learn more about the Russian space agency: Russia says don’t worry, it doesn’t matter that we threw the ISS into a spin

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