back to article Just what they've always wanted! ISS 'naut duo unwrap new space fridge

Astronauts have completed a SEVEN-HOUR spacewalk to fit what looks a giant fridge, but we're assured is a vital cooling system, to the International Space Station. The work concludes a two-stage operation to fix the platform's life support: its cooling equipment started acting up this month, prompting NASA to order a series of …


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  1. trenchfoot

    Air Con?

    When the temperature outside is approaching minus two hundred and seventy odd, you wouldn't have thought that air conditioning would be their biggest concern would you? :)

    Merry Christmas all.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Air Con?

      Actually, air conditioning is the biggest issue in space. Here on earth you can cool things relatively easily because there's this whole "atmosphere" thing. Molecules of air strike a surface warmer than they are, absorb energy and go off elsewhere.

      That doesn't happen in space.

      In space, the only way to get rid of excess heat is what's called "blackbody radiation." All matter radiates electromagnetic energy on it's way down to absolute zero and is only really prevented from reaching absolute zero because it is also capable of absorbing energy int eh same manner.

      A star (like our sun) pumps out photons which are absorbed by various types of matter. Matter will then pass along that energy by emitting radiation of it's own or, if the possibility exists, through physical contact of a warmer molecule with a colder one.

      This is why cooling is such a big thing in space. Space isn't cold. Space is, in face, nothingness. There are many cold things in space, but there are also many hot things. They don't tend to interact much, so cold things that don't have the opportunity to absorb radiation stay cold while warm things sit there and crank out radiation.

      Every satellite, spacecraft and station has cooling issues. So much so that they are among the most difficult and expensive elements of the design. There is not "temperature outside" because there is no anything outside to create "temperature" as we would understand it.

      So that's your science for the day, I hope you have a great holiday season!

      1. trenchfoot

        Re: Trevor_Pott: Air Con?

        yes. I know. It was supposed to be mild humour, hence the smiley at the end of it. Looking forward now to your scientific debunking of why cracking a window open in space might not be a great idea or why there are no corner shops at the ISS (let alone ones that are open for Christmas). :-)

        Hope you're having a good one.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Trevor_Pott: Air Con?

          Can't see why cracking a window wouldn't work. You'd blow all the hot air out of the station. If you then closed and repressurised, you would have air that was cold (pressurized air being rather cold.) Would suck for the astronauts, but maybe they could hide in a Soyuz for the duration.

          Also, aren't the ESA transfer vehicles corner shops?

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Air Con?

      Merry christmas to you too. Upvoted because I saw the obvious joke ;-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it got too hot, they should have just cracked a window open.

    1. frank ly

      Yes, that would result in the loss of some heat.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That far away from the in-laws...

    ...and they still have to resort to a spot of DIY before Boxing Day!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems to be a lot of faulty parts being replaced over the years. They really don't make things well these days.

  5. Don Jefe

    New Product

    NASA is missing an opportunity here. They should package and sell ammonia flakes!

    'Keep pests out of your household trash the same way astronauts on the ISS do.'

    Ammonia flakes emit hazardous vapors when thawed. Ensure proper ventilation when opening your NASA Ammonia Flakes Module indoors. Liquid Nitrogen refills for your module are available online at Major credit cards, echecks, Bitcoin and PayPal accepted.'

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: New Product

      I thought Amonia Flakes sounded more like a breakfast cereal personally...

  6. Andus McCoatover

    I hope Santa gave 'em the batteries for it...

    Nothing worse than he corner shop being shut at Christmas...

  7. Andus McCoatover

    How to get rid of the old 'fridge on the end of the arm?

    "Let it go, let it go, let it go..."

  8. Oninoshiko

    I imagine it was a good christmas present for them

    what with the importance of the station's systems to them!

    (Even if it was a bit of a DIY present)

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