Space exploration and working up there seems to be old hat these days with so many launches to the International Space Station, but things still go wrong. This past week something very scary happened to one of the astronauts.
Two days after his helmet flooded during a spacewalk, astronaut Luca Parmitano relived the experience Thursday, describing how water kept trickling into his helmet until big globs covered his eyes, then his nose. It was hard to see, he said, and he could not hear.
Just imagine being in this situation. Stuck out in space. Your helmet filling with water. You can’t see, hear, and probably are almost to the point where you can’t breathe. This would be scary if you were on Earth, but he was in SPACE. I doubt the thing on his mind was rfid credit cards.
“For a couple of minutes there, maybe more than a couple of minutes, I experienced what it’s like to be a goldfish in a fishbowl — from the point of view of the goldfish,” Parmitano said in a TV interview from the International Space Station.
Parmitano said he used his memory to make his way back into the space station. His spacewalking partner, Christopher Cassidy, was a big help.
“The water kept trickling until it completely covered my eyes and my nose,” Parmitano said.
The sun was setting as the spacewalkers made their way back, making it harder to maneuver in the darkness.
“All those things sort of came together at the perfect storm, so to speak, for us to deal with,” Cassidy told TV reporters.
Cassidy said the space station crew reviewed the spacewalk procedures in advance and discussed possible emergencies.
“But lo and behold, what happened was not one of those items that we discussed,” said Cassidy, 43, a former Navy SEAL.
“My own gut feeling,” Cassidy said, “I knew it was time to end it when I saw the water creeping around his communications cap, kind of right by his eyelid. I knew that was a significant amount of water to be in a helmet, and it was time to go in.”
Parmitano was low key as he recounted the experience. Once the helmet came off, he said, “that was the end of it.”
Filed under: Space, Space Tech
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