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- A video showing a fabric flap on the International Space Station is being used to cast doubt on the existence of space. But the flap isn’t the hatch to the spacecraft; it’s a barrier to stave off from debris and other environmental hazards.
A video of an astronaut climbing back into a spacecraft is drawing ridicule from Instagram users who believe Earth is flat.
In the clip, as a line from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ "Californication" plays — "Space may be the final frontier, but it’s made in a Hollywood basement" — a spacesuited astronaut climbs back into an entrance and grabs at what looks like a soft, pliable material to cover a hole accessing space.
"Look at that airtight flap!" a description of the video recently shared on Instagram says. "Go NASA! Space is fake. Research flat earth."
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The footage is authentic, a NASA spokesperson confirmed for PolitiFact in an emailed statement. It shows a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. But the suggestion that it shows a large-scale game of pretend is wrong..
The flap visible in the video is a fabric flap that protects the space station’s hatch from environmental hazards such as debris and solar radiation.
Unlike the fabric flap visible in the video, which opens outward and closes inward, the space station’s hatch opens inward, so it can be opened only when the airlock, a resealable airtight compartment with two doors, is in a vacuum, the statement from NASA said.
"Otherwise, the air pressure inside would hold it closed," NASA’s statement said of the hatch.
That hatch isn’t visible in the video because it’s inside the airlock, according to the NASA statement.
The agency also rebutted claims that the earth is flat.
"Humans have known that the Earth is round for more than 2,000 years," NASA said in the statement. "The ancient Greeks measured shadows during summer solstice and also calculated Earth’s circumference. They used positions of stars and constellations to estimate distances on Earth. They could even see the planet’s round shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse."
Today scientists use GPS and satellites to measure Earth’s size and shape.
We rate claims that this video proves space is fake Pants on Fire!
Instagram post, Sept. 6, 2022
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Round Earth Clues: How Science Proves that our Home is a Globe, Sept. 9, 2022
Statement from NASA, Sept. 9, 2022
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