Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev said the mysterious hole in a Soyuz capsule docked at the International Space Station was pierced inside, according to the Associated Press.
Prokopyev was one of two cosmonauts who inspected the hole during an "unprecedented" spacewalk on Dec. 11. This report is the latest in a saga of months that has long since become bizarre.
The scientists noticed a pressure leak at the ISS on 29 August this year. They determined that the source was a 2mm hole in the Soyuz capsule and quickly filled with epoxy. NASA has said that astronauts have never been in danger.
Since then, photos of the hole have revealed that it looked a lot like a hole. Russian officials suggested that it could have come from "deliberate deterioration," but failed to make direct accusations.
Yury Borisov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Space Industry, vehemently denied trying to "[compromise the reputation] our cosmonauts, or American astronauts, "according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Prokopyev and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko inspected the hole in a complex space walk on Dec. 11, which required the removal of part of the meteorite shield from the capsule.
There are not many more details currently – and it is not clear whether the hole was created on Earth or in space. Pablo De Leon, professor of extravehicular activities and space suit design at the Department of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, told us in September that microgravity would have made it extremely difficult to drill a hole in space.
And, in fact, Prokopyev said it would be further investigation to determine when the hole was made.
So while this may be a new development in history, it is not changing much. We still do not know who punched the hole or when, and the investigation continues. Prokopyev denied that the hole could have been pierced by an astronaut.
We have contacted NASA to comment and we will continue to update you on this story as it develops.[Associated Press]