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How An Astronaut Nearly Drowned During a Space Walk

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the forgot-his-snorkel dept.

Space 144

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "About 44 minutes into a 6.5-hour spacewalk last July, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano noted that water was building up inside his helmet – the second consecutive spacewalk during which he reported the problem. As Parmitano worked his way back to the air lock, water covered his eyes, filled his ears, disrupted communications, and eventually began to enter his nose, making it difficult for him to breathe. 'I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet,' wrote Parmitano about making it to the airlock. 'I'll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet.' Later, when crew mates removed his helmet, they found that it contained at least 1.5 quarts of water. In a 122-page report released Wednesday, a mishap investigation board identified a range of causes for the near-tragedy, including organizational causes that carried echoes of accident reports that followed the loss of the shuttles Challenger and Columbia and their crews in 1986 and 2003. Engineers traced the leak to a fan-and-pump assembly that is part of a system that extracts moisture from the air inside the suit and returns it to the suit's water-based cooling system. Contaminants clogged holes that would have carried the water to the cooling system after it was extracted from the air. The water backed up and flowed into the suit's air-circulation system, which sent it into Parmitano's helmet (PDF).

The specific cause of the contamination is still under investigation but investigators also identified deeper causes, one of which involved what some accident-investigation specialists have dubbed the 'normalization of deviance' – small malfunctions that appear so often that eventually they are accepted as normal. In this case, small water leaks had been observed in space-suit helmets for years, despite the knowledge that the water could form a film on the inside of a helmet, fogging the visor or reacting with antifogging chemicals on the visor in ways that irritate eyes. NASA officials are not planning on resuming non-urgent spacewalks before addressing all 16 of the highest priority suggestions from the Mishap Investigation Board. 'I think it's a tribute to the agency that we're not hiding this stuff, that we're actually out trying to describe these things, and to describe where we can get better,' says William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. 'I think that's how we prevent Columbias and Challengers.'"

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144 comments

Play it safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367189)

Don't go into space again. Ever!

Re:Play it safe (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367319)

Michelle Bachmann sez: if God wanted us to go into outer space, he'd have given us gills so we can breathe underwater.

Michelle Bachmann things (very dimly) that going into space doesn't help my corporate buddies, so fuck outer space.

Quarts? (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#46367197)

Later, when crew mates removed his helmet, they found that it contained at least 1.5 quarts of water.

Or at least 1.5 liters of water, if you're Canadian. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Quarts? (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 months ago | (#46368277)

Yeah, I needed a conversion on that.. I was thinking "what kinda scientist is using quarts?"

Re:Quarts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368387)

I think this is more a reference that this also happened to Chris Hadfield in 2001, could be wrong though.

I'm confused (1)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 months ago | (#46367225)

Was that 1.5 quarters of eight American or English pints?

Re:I'm confused (5, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about 2 months ago | (#46367291)

A quart is a quarter of a gallon, not a quarter of a pint. Now pint off, you tablespooner.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 months ago | (#46367307)

A quart is a quarter of a gallon, not a quarter of a pint. Now pint off, you tablespooner.

And are these gallons of yours some newfangled ones that are not made up of 8 pints?

Re:I'm confused (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 months ago | (#46368153)

jebus
4 quarts in a gallon
2 pints in a quart
2 cups in a pint
8 fluid ounces in a cup
2 tablespoons in a fluid ounce
3 teaspoons in a tablespoon.

any qs?

Re:I'm confused (1)

Muros (1167213) | about 2 months ago | (#46368315)

any qs?

No questions. I was merely pointing out that Megane above did not read what I wrote. Obviously you didn't either. Nevermind.

Re:I'm confused (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#46368481)

1 microliter = 10E-6 liters
1 ml of distilled water weighs (more or less) 1 gram
1000 ml = 1 liter

I win !

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368619)

I hate this system. I wish we just started off metric.

Re:I'm confused (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 months ago | (#46368795)

why do you hate it? it makes just as much sense as anything else. going up from there, 42 gal in a barrel. I'm not sure what unit of measurement is bigger than a barrel. there's all sorts of things smaller than a teaspoon, but I don't know them well. a dram, eg.

Re:I'm confused (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#46369031)

why do you hate it? it makes just as much sense as anything else

That's sort of the problem. It doesn't make as much sense as anything else unless you had it beat into you as a child.. Things are divided by 2's , 3's, 4's and 8's and 12's and there's 5,280 feet in a mile FFS.

Sure, there's pints of beer worldwide, but it's not hard to keep thing straight in the Metric system, other than perhaps the danger of being off by an order of magnitude.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367759)

It comes in pints???

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368673)

You know how milk and elephants are alike?

They both come in quarts.

On the bright side (5, Funny)

tippe (1136385) | about 2 months ago | (#46367263)

at least it wasn't a failure of the space suit's urine collection system...

Re:On the bright side (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#46367489)

Anyone else reminded of the scene in Brazil where the air condition repairmen are shitted to death?

Re:On the bright side (2)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 2 months ago | (#46367495)

at least it wasn't a failure of the space suit's urine collection system...

which begs the question... is there an efficient fart collection system? In space, no one can smell you toot.

Re:On the bright side (1)

Kelbear (870538) | about 2 months ago | (#46367839)

I'm told that farts just recirculate through the suit's life-support systems. They just have to endure. Space is hard.

summery (3, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 months ago | (#46367267)

Was that actually a good summary for once, or the entire article!

I guess it stops the usual misinformed, ignorant posts based on a couple of sensationalist headline based loosely upon something that was slightly related to the article from being posted.

Stupid question (5, Interesting)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#46367309)

Couldn't he have, you know, drank the water that was building up?

Re:Stupid question (2)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 2 months ago | (#46367347)

Couldn't he have, you know, drank the water that was building up?

That IS a stupid... No, actually, it's not. I'm going to assume, however, that drinking a fluid that's probably floating around as globules inside your helmet, without choking on it, would be tricky. Also, "Ewww, helmet water!"

Re:Stupid question (4, Interesting)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 2 months ago | (#46367367)

I'd still pick "eww" over drowning, as drowning is supposedly one of the more painful ways to die.

Re:Stupid question (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 2 months ago | (#46368311)

I'd still pick "eww" over drowning, as drowning is supposedly one of the more painful ways to die.

painful? i haven't heard that. I do some free diving and have a respectable ~2ish minute breath hold under water. I personally have never experienced shallow water blackout, but i know people who have. it doesn't sound like they ever were in pain. they just blacked out, had someone not rescued them they would have drowned, but the last thing they remembered was peacefully swimming under water. maybe i'm not drowning right.

on topic, i'd chose drinking the helmet water over drowning too.

Re:Stupid question (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 2 months ago | (#46368659)

I probably should have been more specific, drowning in small amounts of water, as it seems a lot of drowning victims do black out before inhaling water.

Re:Stupid question (5, Informative)

danomatika (1977210) | about 2 months ago | (#46367383)

Couldn't he have, you know, drank the water that was building up?

Without gravity, water floats in bubbles you can't easily blow out of the way and the surface tension can keep the film intact over your nose & mouth if their is enough. If you inhale a bubble, all you have is the force of your breath to blow it out. You can easily imagine a scenario where you run out of air in your lungs as the bubbles keep floating in front of your face in the helmet. Scary is putting it mildly.

Re:Stupid question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367503)

If the bubbles block your mouth, you can swallow them. If they don't, you can still breathe.

Re:Stupid question (4, Interesting)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#46367689)

Now, perhaps microgravity does weird things, but my understanding is that the surface tension of water would cause beads of water to form spherical blobs. Any blobs that touch would generally combine to form larger spherical blobs, and so on.

I didn't suggest blowing them out of the way. I suggested sucking them into the mouth, and then swallowing them. Presumably, if they're near the nose, exhaling through the nose would push them towards the mouth. If they're not near the nose or the mouth, then they're not a threat to breathing.

I wouldn't expect water to create a film over any surface, as that would not maximize the ratio of volume to surface area (which is what surface tension accomplishes). I similarly wouldn't expect the water to exist as a fine mist or any other collection of small blobs, since surface tension causes water to "stick" to itself, resulting in the merging of any smaller blobs.

Then again, I've never played with water in microgravity. Considering launching a kickstarter where you can fund my flight aboard the Vomit Comet, where I will attempt to drink blobs of free-floating water in microgravity while I wear a bikini and show off my moobs ala Kate Upton. Any takers?

Re:Stupid question (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 months ago | (#46367757)

You can easily imagine a scenario where you run out of air in your lungs as the bubbles keep floating in front of your face in the helmet.

Google tells me that the average lung holds 6.3 quarts. Judging by how unpleasant half a sipful of water inhaled can be, that sounds literally like torture, but is 1.5 quarts enough to drown in? I guess this probably hasn't been tested in microgravity...

Re:Stupid question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367415)

Water acts a bit odd in low gravity situations. It was sticking to the helmet, and since he couldn't use his hands to guide the water to his mouth, it'd be very difficult to drink most of the water.

Ha, captcha is "gravity."

Re:Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367449)

Holy Shit! You should work for NASA!

I'm picturing the scene now...

"sppphhhhh. This is Houston, we have a solution for you. We need you to start drinking the water in your helmet."

"Ahhh houston this is ISS, do we know this liquid is not toxic?, nevermind, OK here goes."

The question is could you come up with that great idea while your helmet is quickly filling up with water. Seriously, I wonder how fast the water was coming in? I started off posting this in a sarcastic tone and now I think you've won me over.

Re:Stupid question (5, Informative)

gerardrj (207690) | about 2 months ago | (#46367673)

The liquid floating around in the helmet would have eventually drowned him. Doing nothing was 100% certain death; the liquid water was effectively toxic.
Drinking the liquid (which may have been toxic) would have prevented the drowning and provided more time to evacuate him to the interior of ISS. If the liquid were poisonous, medical attention could then be rendered and an evacuation to Earth would be possible.

This is similar to being stranded in the wild: it is always better to drink even smelly water than to die of dehydration. You will most likely be found and returned to civilization before any toxic effect or biological infection from the water you drink would cause any serious health risks. Not drinking could cause your death in a few hours, toxic water would usually take at least a few days to a week to kill you (if you remain untreated).

This of course ignoring the entire question of HOW to drink the water.

If I were NASA I'd take a two-step approach to the issue:

1. Fix the damed leaks.
2. Install a large hydroscopic surface area water/air separator inside the helmet with a straw within reach of the astronaut's mouth. In emergency you can breath through the straw.

Regardless of this issue, it is apparent that the astronauts need an external "man down" signaling device they can activate from muscle memory. The device needs to alert on each of: the comms frequency, visually (flashing light) and on some other dedicated emergency radio frequency with detectors both within the station as well as on Earth.

Re:Stupid question (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | about 2 months ago | (#46367827)

Click through some of the articles above and you'll discover that for the one emergency EVA they've done since this incident they installed snorkels, although they actually go down towards the midriff. They also installed an absorbent pad in the back of the helmet. Notably this was all MacGyvered up from equipment they had on-board.

Linky: http://www.space.com/24027-nas... [space.com]

Re:Stupid question (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#46367475)

Water would float around and collect in blobs. There's no gravity after all. If anything, this would feel a lot like waterboarding; or so I would imagine. Not enough to kill you, but make you feel like you're drowning.

Re:Stupid question (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 2 months ago | (#46367501)

Hydrogen bonds causes water to behave very different in micro and zero gravity. What you propose may make sense under Earth gravity, but not in orbit.

Article and video on Live Science [livescience.com]

Fun youtube video [google.com]

If you find that at all interesting you should look up how fire behaves in space.

Why Didn't He Just Drink the Water? (1)

LurkingSince1999 (2698703) | about 2 months ago | (#46367379)

Seems like a good temporary solution until he could get back to the airlock.

Re:Why Didn't He Just Drink the Water? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367395)

Can't read. TWO FUCKING THREADS UP! jackass asshole fucktard.

Re:Why Didn't He Just Drink the Water? (1)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about 2 months ago | (#46367479)

That's something else. It says "Couldn't he just have DRANK the water". This is a question of whether (or weather as another thread says) he could have DRUNK it.

Re:Why Didn't He Just Drink the Water? (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#46367625)

Can't read. TWO FUCKING THREADS UP! jackass asshole fucktard.

There's not many minutes of difference in the timestamps of the two similar questions. It's possible that GP was reading the thread before the first question was posted and didn't refresh the page to find out the duplicate before posting his own.

Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (3, Insightful)

Galaga88 (148206) | about 2 months ago | (#46367437)

Given the fact that astronauts and cosmonauts have only died trying to launch from, and land on, the Earth, space itself seems surprisingly safe.

It's probably because all the excitement and explosions occur at the taking off and landing, and most of our actual time in space is spent traveling in big circles.

Re:Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (1)

phayes (202222) | about 2 months ago | (#46367663)

Apollo 13 came perilously close to killing astronauts while neither taking off/landing...

Re:Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 months ago | (#46367715)

"Perilously close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

However, Soyuz 11 killed all on board via decompression after undocking from Salyut 1, making them the only casualties to actually occur in space - and even then one could argue that they were beginning the "descent" phase, although that argument would rely on a very loose definition.

Re:Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (1)

phayes (202222) | about 2 months ago | (#46368885)

Close also applies to nuclear weapons and the version of that saying I most commonly see includes them as well.

If you loosen the rules to exclude Apollo 13 because it was only close to killing off the crew (yhough Lovell, Swigert & Haise would probably disagree) then I rule out Soyuz 11 as the accident only occurred once they began descent.

Neither of us mentioned the potentially fatal accidents the Russians had on Mir: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (1)

akozakie (633875) | about 2 months ago | (#46369009)

Safe, perhaps. However, given the risks of decompression, heating malfunction, fire, explosion and plenty of other things that can go wrong in space, seeing an entry like:

Occupation: Astronaut
Place of death: Earth orbit
Cause of death: Drowning

out of context would probably be one of the most memorable WTF moments in my life. Yes, drowning is one of the risks for an astronaut, accidents during underwater training or after a wet landing are certainly possible... But in orbit?!? That's like getting mauled by a lion in the middle of a big city in US or Europe. It can happen, but you'd never consider it a real risk, until the unlikely chain of events actually materializes.

Re:Space Seems Surprisingly Safe (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 months ago | (#46369043)

The Soyuz 11 [wikipedia.org] cosmonauts died in space. A valve was damaged and their capsule depressurized when they were 104 miles up. Their capsule re-entered normally and when the recovery team opened it up, 3 asphyxiated cosmonauts inside.

quarts? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367453)

What is a quart?

Re:quarts? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 months ago | (#46367607)

Five nicks or twenty-five penns. Also, one fourth of a doll.

Re:quarts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368015)

Ok, this is really getting ridiculous! I am not from the States but I have at least a vague idea of the sizes of fluid ounces, gallons and cubic inches.

Why is there an even more obscure measurement unit in a text about sci/eng? SI, anyone?

And don't get me started on baking recipes...

Re:quarts? (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 2 months ago | (#46368279)

Well if you were from Burma, you wouldn't have been confused.

Re:quarts? (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 2 months ago | (#46368303)

And maybe measurements are the entire problem with the filter.
You know, mixing quarts and litres like they mixed metres and yards on some mission.

Re:quarts? (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 2 months ago | (#46368291)

A quart is approx a liter.
If you must be pedantic, and someone will 1qt = 0.94635L
But for small amounts of liquid like in this story it is acceptable to just mentally translate quart to liter.

Big bang space toilet episode comes to mind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367457)

Big bang space toilet episode comes to mind.

The Bravery of Coming Forward After Being Caught (5, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 months ago | (#46367477)

'I think it's a tribute to the agency that we're not hiding this stuff, that we're actually out trying to describe these things, and to describe where we can get better."

Except you were hiding it, for years. You only revealed it when it caused such a crisis that it could not longer be hidden.

Re:The Bravery of Coming Forward After Being Caugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367649)

Yup!

That first line, 'I think it's a tribute to the agency that we're not hiding this stuff", pretty much sums up our present political atmosphere, and attitude towards certain government funded agencies. Absolutely unebievable.

Re:The Bravery of Coming Forward After Being Caugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368613)

Except you were hiding it, for years.

Hiding it? Then how come I watched it live streamed over the internet?

http://news.nationalpost.com/2... [nationalpost.com]

Some fucking fucked up definition of "hiding" you have there. What's next? You'll accuse the US government of "hiding" the amount of national debt? Sometimes ignorance is *your own* fault. At least own up to it instead of hiding from the truth.

And the general leaks in seals were known. They were looked at and were deemed immaterial by everyone involved, including the astronauts. That's been known for as long as US has used water in their suits.

normal deviants (4, Interesting)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 2 months ago | (#46367511)

"normalization of deviance" is what caused the problems. I can see fundamentalists having a field day with that one.

Actually looking directly at the problem is the only way to fix it ultimately.
I like Bob Lewis' take on investigations in a blog he wrote about NASA vs other government Agencies.
http://www.issurvivor.com/shop... [issurvivor.com]

Re:normal deviants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368687)

Yeah, you'd probably want to avoid using those two words close together on tumblr.

Always the problem with NASA (1, Insightful)

gerardrj (207690) | about 2 months ago | (#46367571)

They ignore obviously risk laden malfunctions and events until someone is killed or put in serious jeopardy in a public manner. If this astronaut had not almost drowned the issue would still be getting ignored.

Time, and time again NASA managers ignore risk and push the "go" mentality. I can't think of a single death or significant injury/risk in the NASA programs where the end result of investigation was "well, it was an unforeseeable accident". Each and every case I recall there were engineers saying "there's a problem we need to fix" and managers just kept ignoring it. From Gemini and Apollo through the SST and now the ISS; this is a disease at the core of NASA that needs to be sterilized.

Re:Always the problem with NASA (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#46367985)

I can't think of a single death or significant injury/risk in the NASA programs where the end result of investigation was "well, it was an unforeseeable accident". Each and every case I recall there were engineers saying "there's a problem we need to fix" and managers just kept ignoring it.

Your recollection doesn't match mine, and I've spent decades studying the space program. The loss of Challenger comes close, but even then the engineers had been complacent about joint blow-by and O-ring erosion until the eleventh hour - which contributed in a large part to managements confusion and distrust.

I know there's a Cult Of The Engineer here on Slashdot, but it's badly misguided. Engineers are human, and they do fuck up.

Traitement varices (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367637)

Tanks for this post.

Best regards.
http://traitement-varices.ma

Gov't No better than commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367671)

If this was a commercial enterprise, two thirds of the posts here would be anti-corporate only-seeking-profit kind of posts. However even government institutions, which are supposed to be above profit as a motivator, are prone to ignoring constant malfunctions and not addressing "organizational malfunctions not addressed since previous tragedies". At least with profit as a motivator corporations are easy to manipulate; hit their bottom line for safety malfunctions and they'll solve the problem in no time.

Don't see any criticisms of government inefficiencies in any of the posts here though. Surprise, surprise.

Traitement varices (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367725)

great post. tanks for share.

Best regards.
www.traitement-varices.ma

What is wrong with you people? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367729)

Why is so hard to use sensible units of measure?
WHAT THE FUCK IS A QUART?

Re:What is wrong with you people? (4, Insightful)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 2 months ago | (#46367909)

Stupid people on the internet again. Hey, why not just bring up google and type in "convert 1.5 quarts to quatloos" or whatever your preferred method of measure is? Mandarin is the most common language on Earth. Why aren't we typing in a sensible language like Mandarin?

Idiot.

[John]

Re:What is wrong with you people? (0)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#46368253)

I just googled 'Mandarin' and the Internets told me it can be a Chinese language, a type of orange or a comic.
So according to the Internets the chance that you don't make sense is 66%.

Also, you have a big butt.

Re:What is wrong with you people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46368625)

Do you understand the concept of an international standard?

And yet he still found time to write (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#46367795)

'I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet,' wrote Parmitano about making it to the airlock. 'I'll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet.'

I must go now as I can no longer breathe, yours sincerely, astronaut dude.

Reminds me of Eddie Izzard's take on Pliny the Elder's letters from Pompeii.

Dear friends,

Fookin' top's come off the mountain! Ahhhh! Send ships and big ships, send ducks, send anything!

Love and kisses,

Pliny the Elder

Re:And yet he still found time to write (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#46368667)

Well, there's a momentary release valve. It would have dumped his suit pressure when activated, which would have ejected the water. Not a pleasant process, but it's not like he would have to take the helmet off...

Wouldn't opening the helmet clear the water? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 2 months ago | (#46367829)

It seems like at least one option would've been to unseal the helmet and open it just enough to suck the air out of the suit - which hopefully would dislodge the water, or freeze it, which would give some time to fix the ice build up.

Dear god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46367921)

That situation sounds extremely stressful.

danger of water hugging skin (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 months ago | (#46368007)

Due to surface tension, water will flow along and hug a surface unless disrupted. So it does not have to fill the helmet, but just start crawling along the face into the nose and mouth. I've seen the micro-gravity video of someone slowly squeeze a water-full washcloth and the sheet of water crawl up his arm.

Respect (1)

bmajik (96670) | about 2 months ago | (#46368119)

There's a new one for your nightmares.

Drowning in a thin-sheet of zero gravity water that slowly crawls over your head and face, that you cannot wipe away because you're wearing a space suit, that you cannot take off, because you are floating in space.

It's like something from fear factor. Imagine getting into a coffin with a window over your face, and you cannot move your arms/legs. And then you realize the coffin is full of tarantulas... because you feel them crawling up your body towards your face....

This guy keeping his cool is an excellent testament to the training they do back on the ground.

Reminds me of this article:

http://www.theonion.com/articl... [theonion.com]

Mishap Investigation Board (1)

YalithKBK (2886373) | about 2 months ago | (#46368175)

I know this is a real thing but it sounds like something they made up on the spot. Sounds more like Aperture Science than NASA.

Waterboarding (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#46368239)

Obviously NASA thought the astronauts knew more than they were saying. This is just a conspiracy to cover up their interrogation technique.

Brass balls on this guy! (1)

John G (3509575) | about 2 months ago | (#46368579)

"'I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet,' wrote Parmitano about making it to the airlock. 'I'll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet." Wow that one cold mofo here.

Re:Brass balls on this guy! (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 months ago | (#46369067)

"'I know that if the water does overwhelm me I can always open the helmet,' wrote Parmitano about making it to the airlock. 'I'll probably lose consciousness, but in any case that would be better than drowning inside the helmet."

Wow that one cold mofo here.

I believe he was already in the (repressurising) airlock by that point, so whilst taking the helmet off would have been bad, it's not quite the same as doing it in space.

On the other hand, the helmets do have a depressurisation valve which can be opened while in space (Chris Hadfield had to use it to remove contamination from inside his suit while on EVA). ISTR that NASA had considered using that, but had concluded that the surface tension would prevent the water from migrating towards the valve so it wouldn't have worked.

Quarts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46369091)

I bet slashdot editors laugh hard when they see people bitching about measurement units used in TFS. Every time i read summary with measurement units like quarts, football fields or yards ( and never SI ), it just feels like this is definitely intentional.

he was heard to say... (1)

drewsup (990717) | about 2 months ago | (#46369201)

Mama Mia, she's a filling up a witha agua, Helpa, someabody helpa me, ima gonna drown!

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