There are not many contests for the strangest space news this year. If anyone who gives such an award will surely be handed over to the strange story of a leak that appeared spontaneously in the hull of the Soyuz spacecraft attached to the International Space Station a few months ago. Now, with the ship itself safely back on Earth and the part of the spaceship that holds the sinkhole while entering again, it's up to Russia to determine how the whole is made, when, and by whom.
The state's investigation of the strange incident seemed messy to outside observers, with statements from officials coming quickly and furiously in the days after the discovery of the hole and then sliding rapidly without resolution. This week, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev told reporters that the hunt for truth was in the hands of the Russian space program, but he also stated with certainty that the hole was made from inside.
Okay, so the hole was drilled from inside the spacecraft and not drilled into the interior from the outside, but what does that mean and that matters? Well, now that doesn't mean much, especially if you give weight to the initial statement from Russian officials who believe the damage was made during the process of making a spacecraft.
Ships like Soyuz Russia underwent extensive tests and inspections before they were allowed to be bound to rockets and fired into space. Everything must be perfect so that a ship is cleared to retrieve human passengers, and the fact that the hole is not handled during the inspection and verification process is clearly strange.
Initially, roaring out from Russia showed that perhaps one member of the ISS (a NASA astronaut, perhaps) had drilled a hole to cut the mission so that the sick crew members could return. The statement was quickly shot down by the crew and Russia quickly denied that anyone in the ISS was responsible.
Assuming damage was made when the ship was still on Earth, the fact that it was drilled from inside might not be very meaningful. The hole, which seemed to be hidden by low-quality patchwork, ultimately did not pose a threat to the crew, but it was still a bad sign on the Russian Soyuz program that was relied on by NASA and other international space groups to bring scientists into space.