Feeds

Ground control? My space helmet is FILLING WITH WATER!

ESA 'naut Parmitano aborts spacewalk after mystery leak

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Any day now you'll start to see pre-release hype for the George Clooney and Sandra Bullock vehicle Gravity, in which the pair star as astronauts cast adrift in space after a nasty accident interrupts a spacewalk.

We mention the flick as a nod to the notional truth/fiction differential, after NASA revealed a real spacewalk by an actual astronaut was aborted yesterday.

The cause was liquid in the helmet of Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano, who yesterday took a giant leap for mankind by embarking on a spacewalk from the International Space Station. About an hour into the spacewalk, Parmitano complained of liquid in his helmet. So much liquid, in fact, that it was obscuring his vision, threatened to choke him and prevented communication with the ISS and terrestrial assistance.

Parmitano drank all the potable water in his suit's "drink bag", thinking it was the most obvious source of a leak and that if the water was inside him it couldn't float around inside his helmet.

But in the video below, NASA officials have said the drink bag doesn't seem to have been the culprit and the reason for the incident is currently unknown.

Some clues have emerged that hint at the real problem. Parmitano said the water tasted funny, which could suggest it was not water but the iodine-doped antibacterial coolant used to keep the drink bag cold. The astronaut's also reported to have said his extremities remained dry, a data point that will help to determine the likely site of the leak.

Whatever the cause of the problem, the spacewalk was ended after just 92 minutes, five hours short of the mission plan.

That's not all bad: a 92-minute spacewalk is a new record for the shortest such extra-vehicular excursion.


Video streaming by Ustream

NASA has promised to let us all know just what happened once it figures it out. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.