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Spacewalk Aborted When Water Fills Astronaut's Helmet 125

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-worse-could-be-aliens dept.
astroengine writes "A planned six-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station came to a dramatic and abrupt end on Tuesday when water started building up inside the helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. Parmitano and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy were less than an hour into their spacewalk, their second in a week, when Parmitano reported that his head felt wet. 'My head is really wet and I have a feeling it's increasing,' Parmitano reported to ground control teams at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Parmitano returned safely to the space station interior, but the cause of the leak was not immediately known."
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Spacewalk Aborted When Water Fills Astronaut's Helmet

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  • Close call (Score:5, Funny)

    by dadelbunts (1727498) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:32AM (#44297517)
    Would have sucked to be the first person to drown in outer space.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is water in space!
  • Terrible. (Score:5, Funny)

    by philip.paradis (2580427) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:36AM (#44297549)
    This story is all wet, but at least it holds its water.
  • by Ceriel Nosforit (682174) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:37AM (#44297557)

    What will the government do to stop these leaks?!

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      What will the government do to stop these leaks?!

      Why, that's elementary... apply some pressure... on other govts to refuse the landing.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Obviously, NASA needs a bigger budget.

  • by philip.paradis (2580427) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:38AM (#44297565)

    I've been trying to warn the public about the inherent dangers of DHMO [dhmo.org] for years, but my cries have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps someone at NASA will listen now.

    • I've been trying to warn the public about the inherent dangers of DHMO [dhmo.org] for years, but my cries have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps someone at NSA will listen now.

      FTFY

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They already are listening

  • I'm glad our guys and gals at NASA are so professional. I would not make a very good mission control team member in this circumstance.
  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:44AM (#44297651) Journal
    Depends.
    • My guess would be that it smells like an astronaut(or taikonaut or cosmonaut) who has not had a bath for a while.
  • Must... not... make.... Italian jokes....
  • by ssam (2723487) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:49AM (#44297699)

    and No Surprises"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5CVsCnxyXg [youtube.com]

  • Fills.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:53AM (#44297759) Journal

    Fills... I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:55AM (#44297789) Homepage

    Sounds like it was a leak in the inner-jacket cooling system that circulates water around the astronaut's body. Can't be a fun experience though,

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Especially not once the cooling system fails because you're swimming in it instead of it circulating.

      Hot and wet, in a cramped suit. Ick.

  • Just sayin... could explain the whole problem.

  • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @11:57AM (#44297819)

    The most obvious source I can think for this would be a leak in the water cooling suit [wikipedia.org] astronauts wear to keep cool while in the space suit.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @12:23PM (#44298219) Homepage

    NASA's first attempt to launch goldfish into space goes awry when astronauts accidentally mix up the experiment and their EVA suit [youtube.com].

    NASA insists the goldfish are fine and experienced only minimal distress during their brief EVA.

  • by gregthebunny (1502041) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @12:28PM (#44298311) Journal
    They're a few decades early... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waters_of_Mars [wikipedia.org]
  • by Richy_T (111409)

    Had he left a tube of biscuit dough in the back of his space-suit?

    (OK, this is *very* obscure)

    • Cm'on... I'm sure at least 20% of slashdot readers have seen that Mythbusters episode....

      I doubt he was returning from his spacewalk with the week's groceries stuffed in his suit though.

  • I know the suits use water cooling and there's also a drinking water supply system, so this causes a minor inconvenience. It wasn't like when Ed White did the first US spacewalk and his suit inflated to a size such that he couldn't get back into the Gemini Capsule. Some think he was just trying to get some extra spacewalk time but that seems a bit more like a real show stopper. In this case the guy just got a wet head and a shorted out comm system.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      If it was the cooling system that's a no-go. Once that runs dry, heat will start to build up in the suit.

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Oh no question but the guy can always go back inside. It's not like he's 50 miles away from the station? I guess the thing that makes it newsworthy is that it happens in space whereas an Oil Rig Diver who has an oxygen tank failure is less newsworthy because it isn't plastered all over the world news. As Super Chicken once said: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it Fred."

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          I find it interesting that you don't see the difference between a dangerous job on the ground/sea and a dangerous job in orbit...

          Shows how far we've come, eh?

          • by Virtucon (127420)

            Uhm, both are hazardous and I know a few of those Deep Sea guys. Sometimes they live pressurized for weeks at a time when working deep. So for all intents and purposes if their equipment fails, they may die. If the guy out in space has a problem with his equipment he may die too. I just say there's more eyes on the folks on the ISS than there are out in the Ocean so I guess the perspective is relative.

            People step up to do these kinds of jobs so they know the risks, I say good job but there's probably a

            • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @09:53PM (#44304803)

              But this is the ISS, the over-budget, over-priced lab where the Italians made the trash module (DaVinci Module is a giant trashcan). Let's face it the ISS is a bit boring and dull. Oh look another crew oh look a spacewalk. Sorry if that's cynical but hell, let's go back to the moon, let's go to Mars or further instead of a few miles up.

              I just have to chime in here. Things have changed. And whether it was too expensive or not, that's in the past.

              Now, the ISS is a critical element in the commercial/private space research and development that will take us to those other places in a real, "moving in and staying" kinda way. Almost every piece of hardware and technology will be tested on the ISS before it goes anywhere. For example, right now on the ISS is a 3D printer being tested to see how it works in microgravity, and learn what engineering changes will be required. 3D printing, or 'additive manufacturing' is one of the critical enabling technologies for long term travel, such as trips to Mars. And a Bigelow expandable habitat [bigelowaerospace.com] will be sent up and attached to the ISS for long term testing, soon.

              Believe it or not, today the govt. is actually working to get out of the way, and really allow the ISS to be as useful as it could be. I'm kinda involved in some of the 'New Space' efforts. One very cool thing that the govt has done is designate the ISS as a National Laboratory (like Los Alamos, LLL, Sandia, Argonne, etc.) and has set up a program to provide free access for qualifying research - free launch, free astronaut activities (limited to a bit of button pushing) and free return. Administration has been delegated to an NGO (CASIS [iss-casis.org]). So this is a beyond-world-class scientific laboratory, available for free for whomever comes up with something interesting. And they (not just NASA, but several other agencies as well) _really_ want to show some good results - that's what will justify continued support.

              This could be as important for space research and development as anything we've seen. Scheduling of experiments (built into one of the three standard rack systems, from the Nanorack size to full 19" rack) has changed so that, where in the past it could take two or three years to get an experiment approved and launched, now it's possible to get your experiment launched in a few months. It still will cost a company $300,000 or so to design, build, test and get through the approval process (quite a bit less for a volunteer/student project with free labor and scrounged materials) but this is a game changer.

              One company I'm (distantly) involved with is doing biotech research, and plans to run two or more experiments per year over the next couple of years. If their research pans out, the fruit of that research may well justify at least the cost of running the station over that time.

              TL;DR - the ISS is turning from a government boutique research facility into a major tool for independent R&D, and will be instrumental in making commercial space and space development economically and technically possible.

              • by Virtucon (127420)

                Okay, science, industry, great. The technology boon that came out of Apollo for example was great for the US and the world but the ISS is really getting on in years now and if routine problems cause everybody to gasp in shock, then we have truly become a world of twitter trackers with each message causing us to stop and pause to ponder whether or not one of the Kardashians has a new wart or looks to fat in this pic? I would question why you need a 3D printer in space anyway, at least at this point. What

                • The 3D printer is there for testing the whole principle of 3D printing - it's one of the ongoing experiments... But it's also produced useful things on the ISS already.

                  The ISS deliveries are one of the primary financial and technological drivers of companies like SpaceX to get their 'space legs' - and SpaceX has already been instrumental in dropping freight launch costs by 50% (not to just the ISS but all small/medium launches), saving everyone money with good ol' competition and innovation. Notice how im

                  • by Virtucon (127420)

                    Sorry, I'm going to miss the conference. If they had to payload my ass into space I'd bankrupt the whole US economy. In any event you do know that Sun is out of business right? ;-)

                    • Ah, Sun. How the mighty have fallen. Every company, like any organism, has a lifespan. Back in the early-mid 1980s when Sun had only been public for a little while, the stock was selling at $16.25 - one of my very first stock purchases. I bought 100 shares. Two years later the stock had not budged from $16.25, and I needed some cash so I sold it. (I should have at least done a little research, but ...) A week later it was at $24 and never looked back. I think it split seven times by 2000. I think my

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              Oh look another crew oh look a spacewalk.

              Exactly. Do you realize that EVA has become mundane? Think about that for a minute.

              • by Virtucon (127420)

                No more than when Apollo 8 mission coverage caused folks to freak out for interrupting a football game. [dropbox.com]

                Back then a phone call wasn't cheap either.

  • If only Humans had some method for consuming and then excreting water...

    See Homer Simpson for details.

    Of course I am assuming it is water and not some non-drinkable coolant liquid.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @02:31PM (#44300297)

    In space, no one can hear you gargle....

  • Ground Control: "You're supposed to do that BEFORE you go outside."
  • It's okay - you breathed it for nine months once.
  • Eric just wants some peace and quiet.

  • The crew broke their water nozzle when re-entering the LM and flooded the floor of the space craft with water. Some of it had to be dumped overboard in cans the next time they decompressed.

  • In the novel "Have Space Suit -- Will Travel", Kip and Peewee are on the moon and trying to escape the bad guys by walking to the nearest lunar base. Peewee complaints about being thirsty. Kip, in his professional grade, if obsolete, space suit has a water nipple and he is momentarily incensed that Peewee's moon-tourist space suit doesn't. But then he realizes that it would probably be a bad idea because a tourist might bite the nipple off and drown in the suit. (At least that's the way I remember it.)

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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