NASA and Roscosmos announced that the leak was detected thanks to ... tea leaves. You read that right. The astronauts launched a few leaves into the air, and the microgravity and vacuum of space have done their job. Leaves like sailboats crossed the deck of the International Space Station and eventually stuck to the micro-hole.
In confirmation of their discovery, the astronauts glued a bladder with air to the place where the air is escaping. After a few hours, the blister collapsed, which meant that oxygen was escaping into space. Unfortunately, NASA and Roscosmos have no cause for satisfaction. Despite the discovery of the leak, the fracture is found in the Zwiezda aluminum service module, the oldest and most important Russian segment of the International Space Station.
The module is already 20 years old and is the most tired element of the cosmic home. It was here that manned and cargo ships moored for 15 years. Engineers have no idea yet how to eliminate the crack. Aluminum is a very difficult material in any modifications. In terrestrial conditions, it is still possible to drill the cracks and remove the stresses, while in outer space it is practically impossible.
Experts believe that the astronauts will try to fix it, and if that fails, it's quite possible that it will be taken out of service. At the time of designing the Animal module, no one really anticipated that the International Space Station would stay in orbit for so many years and not be thoroughly modified.
Yesterday, the astronauts had one more problem, namely the failure of the oxygen supply system to the modules of the Russian part of the Station. The crew is to repair the defect in the following days. If the action fails, the astronauts will be in danger. NASA and Roscosmos may carry out a special mission to deliver oxygen to the ISS.
After 2025, the space house is to be turned into a hotel for tourists. Then we can expect that it will be slowly modernized by private companies. Perhaps at the end of tech guides best 1920s it will be abandoned, and independent hotels for tourists will be built in orbit. At least such plans are planned by several companies from Russia and the USA.