back to article NASA OKs spacewalks, upgrades helmets after fishbowl mishap

Spacewalks outside the International Space Station are set to resume after NASA temporarily paused all such activity to investigate an issue that caused water to accumulate in one astronaut's helmet. On March 23, Matthias Maurer, a European Space Agency 'naut, stepped outside the orbiting science lab for nearly seven hours …

  1. TheProf

    Cheap TV

    I'll have to re-evaluate my opinion on those cheap SF films and TV shows where the astronaut's visor was covered in condensation.

    I used to put it down to poor ventilation in the props but now it seems they were totally accurate all the time.

    In space no-one can hear you drown.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Cheap TV

      According to the Radio Times, Star Cops got around the problem by smearing the inside of the helmet with washing up liquid.

      Bit sticky as, being a police show, they kept finding suited bodies with, so the camera was sure to identify them, their faces pressed against the visor.

      So the hands that do dishes really were as smooth as their faces.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Cheap TV

        Soft, not smooth - aren't I supposed to get better at remembering the old stuff? Have I had breakfast yet? Who are you? Nurse!

  2. HPCJohn

    Danger of water in spacesuit

    Chris HAdfiled has a section in his book where he is on a spacewalk and there is a water leak in the helmet. I don't remember the exact details but it is very dangerous as water obviously does not drain away in zero G. I believe it could easily have choked him.

    1. MOH

      Re: Danger of water in spacesuit

      It was actually tears - whatever they'd cleaned the helmet with irritated his eye which started tearing up, and without gravity tears just stay in your eyes stinging you and leaving youtemporarily blind.

      Went to see Tim Peake talk recently, he had a bit about the Luca Parmitano incident

  3. TRT Silver badge

    ...developed a hardware solution...


    1. Zebo-the-Fat

      Re: ...developed a hardware solution...

      Always know where your towel is!

  4. SonofRojBlake

    No thanks.

    For most of my life I'd have given anything to be an astronaut. In the last few years, though, I've read more about what it's really like, and the more I read, the more I conclude there's not enough in NASA's budget to pay me to go up there.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: No thanks.

      Just become a political dissident like your dad, and you'll soon be on the shuttle to Cygnus Alpha.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: No thanks.

      Agreed. This Twitter thread on peeing in space and other related problems is eye opening. Stories about what happens when the zero-g toilet malfunctions are also worth hunting down.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: No thanks.

        Is it too expensive to spin the area with the toilet? Really?

    3. vogon00

      Re: No thanks.

      The more I read about it, the more I want to go! If I had the budget, I would be paying them!

  5. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Surely it'd be easier....

    To just open the front for a bit and then close it back up again?

    Failing that, an emergency drain valve into space. I mean which is worse to deal with blinded and drowning or a slight vacuum until things clear up?

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Surely it'd be easier....

      I presume you jest but if not, how would a drain valve work without gravity?

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Surely it'd be easier....

        In space a drain valve is not up-to-down but in-to-out. Don't let it get stuck in the open position. Also, draining stuff into space doesn't necessarily get rid of it. If it follows you in orbit, you merely changed it into a different class of nuisance.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Surely it'd be easier....

          You watched Avenue 5 as well then?

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Surely it'd be easier....

        There is a drain valve. The helmet is under pressure, and space isn't. So it should work.

        Luca Parmitano said in an interview that the drain valve was his final option. Without gravity, the surface tension of the water is much more powerful. And so it sticks to you like some sort of jelly. The water had covered his eyes and ears. I believe his radio was still working, so NASA could hear him calmly saying he was about to drown. But he couldn't hear them, so didn't know if help was on the way - or the radio was bust.

        So he worked his way back to the airlock blind. But couldn't see to operate it. He waited there for help. He'd had to climb over an antenna, and the other astronaut had to go a different route, so they had places to tether their cables.

        I think in climbing over the antenna he'd changed orientation, and the water had started to cover his nostrils.

        So he waited, in the dark, in a failing spacesuit, with no comminications. He said his plan was to open the dump valve from his helmet. His hope was that even if he blacked out from lack of oxygen and couldn't close it again, the water in the helmet might freeze and form a plug, giving the air time to refill and him to regain consciousness. But help arrived to get him into the airlock, and he didn't have to try it.

        That man has the Right Stuff. As well as extemely large brass ones.

        His reward? Another mission. Involving some complex maintenance, to be done in several long spacewalks. Which needed 100 hours practice submerged in a water tank to train for...

  6. Ideasource

    The ultimate adrenaline chasers

    Relative to the mindset required to successfully become an astronaut not just in title but in mental/physical discipline, this is all part of the rush they came to space for.

    Being an astronaut undergoing operations in orbit is, from a psychological standpoint. the ultimate sport combining intellect and physical.

    Kind of wish all the redundant football showings across too many channels would be replaced with spacewalks and commentary about the dangers in stats along the way.

    The old sports have grown far too familiar to be entertaining.

  7. Marty McFly Silver badge

    I don't understand why they don't carry a towel?!?!

    Every galactic hitchhiker has one!

  8. ShortStuff

    Easy Fix

    Just stop filming under water .. case solved.

  9. khjohansen

    In space no-one can hear you ... ?

    Stop making rocket noises with your mouth!

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