A Story of Leaving Something Behind

Geek Culture

If you’re a parent (and especially if you’re a mom), you know how annoying it is to get home from an outing with the kids to find out someone left something behind. A sweater, a toy, a library book that’s due tomorrow. Then you have to weigh the time and expense of going right back to retrieve it against the inconvenience of doing without the object in question until the next time you’re in the area.

Well, imagine how Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper feels.

On Nov. 18, 2008, astronaut Stefanyshyn-Piper was doing repairs on the outside of the International Space Station when she dropped her toolbag and it floated away. (Watch the video to see her reaction — extraordinarily mild, given the circumstances.)

Perhaps the worst thing about this particular story of a belonging left behind — aside from the thousands of dollars of lost equipment and the slim chance of it damaging the Space Station or another orbiting object — is that the whole world can see exactly where she left it.

According to SpaceWeather.com the errant bag, about as big as aLost_toolbagLost_toolbag backpack, is now orbiting Earth and can be seen through binoculars and small telescopes. Check their Satellite Tracker to find out when it will be visible over your area.

Maybe one day parents will point to that bright spot in the heavens and remind their children of the story of the person Who Could Not Keep Track of Her Belongings, and how it shines in the night sky to remind us all of the importance of remembering to take your stuff when you’re ready to go home.

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