The astronaut who almost drowned in space

Did you know that one of the astronauts on the International Space Station almost drowned during a spacewalk a few weeks ago?Luca-smiling-ESA

Really. This has been circulating around the Internet, and NASA has been giving the impression that it was no big deal. But Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano had a post a couple of weeks ago on a malfunction in his space suit that resulted in water floating in his helmet around his head.

And when you’re in space, that means you’re in a hell of a lot of trouble. Here’s a small portion of his post from his blog on the European Space Agency Web site:

As I move back along my route towards the airlock, I become more and more certain that the water is increasing. I feel it covering the sponge on my earphones and I wonder whether I’ll lose audio contact. The water has also almost completely covered the front of my visor, sticking to it and obscuring my vision. I realise that to get over one of the antennae on my route I will have to move my body into a vertical position, also in order for my safety cable to rewind normally. At that moment, as I turn ‘upside-down’, two things happen: the Sun sets, and my ability to see – already compromised by the water – completely vanishes, making my eyes useless; but worse than that, the water covers my nose – a really awful sensation that I make worse by my vain attempts to move the water by shaking my head. By now, the upper part of the helmet is full of water and I can’t even be sure that the next time I breathe I will fill my lungs with air and not liquid. To make matters worse, I realise that I can’t even understand which direction I should head in to get back to the airlock. I can’t see more than a few centimetres in front of me, not even enough to make out the handles we use to move around the Station.

You’ve got to read the whole thing to see how close this guy was to drowning in an infinite ocean of emptiness.

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